A PROLIFIC member of a gang whose yobs infiltrated rundown areas of Barnsley to peddle drugs has been jailed - after his DNA was found on the trigger of a loaded gun.
Jahmaine Watson was arrested in June after his prints were matched to swabs taken from the converted revolver.
The revolver and a pistol, along with rounds of ammunition, were seized following a warrant executed under Section 32 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The two loaded firearms were found concealed in a cupboard in a property’s hallway along with a quantity of drugs.
Watson, originally from Denaby, was part of an organised crime group (OCG) called the Pitsmoor Shotta Boys, whose members were behind drug dealing in areas such as Bolton-upon-Dearne and Goldthorpe according to police.
He was remanded in custody after being arrested and charged in June before he pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition at Sheffield Crown Court in November.
The 34-year-old was jailed for seven years and two months last week.
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Slater said: “This was a lengthy investigation that required meticulous forensic examination and has resulted in a key member of an organised crime group being jailed.
“The Pitsmoor Shotta Boys have been known as a group that have inflicted terror and misery on our local communities and I hope local residents will share the same sense of relief we do that he is behind bars for a significant amount of time.
“Watson’s DNA was discovered on a loaded firearm which was found hidden in a cupboard in an ordinary-looking suburban home.
“The use of a firearm is incredibly dangerous and can result in significant injury or death.
“We have seen first-hand the devastation and terror these weapons cause and I am relieved we have been able to remove these firearms from our streets.”
Watson’s conviction came as a result of an intelligence-led drugs warrant and DCI Slater has urged the public to continue reporting concerns and information they have to the police.
“I know we will not rest on our laurels and I know they are continuing to relentlessly pursue anyone within the criminal network who is in illegal possession of a firearm,” he added.
“You might think you are above the law, but you are not - you will be caught and I would urge members of the public with information that can help us put more of these criminals behind bars to get in touch.
“The information you provide is often invaluable to our investigations and it really does make a huge difference.
“We want to work with you and together we can continue to crackdown on this criminality and rid our streets of dangerous firearms.”
The gang - which originated in Sheffield - took hold in the Barnsley after several members were rehoused, leading the surrounding villages to be swamped with drugs, police say.
Barnsley was subsequently selected by the Home Office to take part in a National Crime Agency pilot scheme - Clear, Hold and Build - which puts action plans in place to combat OCGs in strongholds already known by the police.
An OCG-related meeting is now held each month with lead officers and staff from the town’s neighbourhood hubs based in the town centre, Cudworth, Penistone, Royston, Hoyland and Goldthorpe.
A spokesperson from the NCA said: “Organised crime groups rely on people to move their product and money around.
“Serious organised crime is complex but we have achieved an unparalleled victory against the kingpin criminals whose criminal activity and violence intimidates and exploits the most vulnerable.
“By dismantling these groups, we have saved countless lives and protected communities.
“Hopefully this sends a clear message to the public of our determination to rid communities of this sort of criminalisation.”
* If you have any information about suspected drug crime in your community, you can report it to police on 101. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, via their website crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.