Ten jailed in huge drugs bust

0
Have your say

An operation that saw up to £1.75m worth of drugs seized by Northumbria Police has resulted in ten men being jailed.

Operation Wexford focused on Longbenton, Walker and Newcastle’s west end, but identified supply chains across the country, including in Cleveland and Liverpool.

The men were arrested during co-ordinated strike days in September last year at homes in Newcastle and North Tyneside, and saw between £1.5m and £1.75m worth of drugs, mainly cocaine and amphetamine, seized.

In the run up to the strike days, police made a number of drug seizures, including 4kg of cocaine seized in June last year and 25.4kg of amphetamine recovered in the same month.

In total, at least 5kg of cocaine and 83kg of amphetamine was recovered during the operation.

At Newcastle Crown Court on Monday, 15 men were sentenced for their part in the crime, including Lee Curry, 33, of Elizabeth Drive in Forest Hall, who pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of amphetamine, and was given a two-year jail sentence.

Michael Lead, 25, of Langdale Close in Longbenton, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of amphetamine and cocaine and was given a one-year-and-eight-month sentence.

Jonathan Gallagher, 31, of Bishop Rock Drive in Longbenton, worked as a courier and supplier of cocaine. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply and was given a two-year-and-four-month sentence.

And Carl Bateman, 28, of Coronation Street in North Shields, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of amphetamine and was given a one year sentence suspended for two years and 200 hours community service.

Previously, Kelly Gallagher, 34, of Maybury Villas in Longbenton, pleaded guilty to possessing amphetamine and received a fine, while James Richardson, 64, of Clarence House in Wallsend, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and received an 18-month conditional discharge.

Others sentenced on the day were:

n Lawrence Flanagan, 45, of Allendale Road in Byker, who was described as being at the head of group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply both class A and class B drugs and was jailed for eight years.

n David Dillon, 49, of Welbeck Road in Walker, described as being head of a linked organised crime group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine and being concerned in the supply of cocaine, was jailed for six years and four months.

n David Middleton, 52, of Wilton Avenue in Walker, was described as directly below Flangan and acted as a courier and stored and supplied drugs. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine, being concerned in the supply of cocaine and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and was jailed for a total of five years and four months.

n Paul Higginson, 30, of Severus Road in Fenham, who acted as a courier and supplier, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply both amphetamine and cocaine and was jailed for four years.

n Andrew Ferrell, 28, of Adair Avenue in Newcastle, worked as a taxi driver and was a courier and supplier. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of amphetamine and cocaine, and was jailed for a total of four years.

n Ben Angus, 23, of Parklands Avenue in Billingham, Teesside, was a courier and supplier transporting drugs to the area from Cleveland. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine and cocaine and was jailed for a four years and six months.

n Kevin Dermott, 49, of Firdale Road in Liverpool, was a courier between Merseyside and Newcastle, and pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine. He was jailed for a total of six years and three months;

n Kevin Shiel, 49, of Morton Street in Walker, was a courier and supplier. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of amphetamine and was given a one year sentence suspended for two years and 200 hours community service.

n David Lockhart, 53, of Burwood Road in Walker, stored drugs on behalf of Middleton and Flanagan. He pleaded guilty to permitting his premises to be used for the supply of class B drugs and was given nine months community service.

n Michael Carr, 52, of Appletree Gardens in Walker, worked as a taxi driver and was a courier of money and used for storage. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine and amphetamine and was given two years suspended for two years and 200 hours community service.

n Kevin Heron, 32, of Cleadon Street in Walker, utilised by Dillon for storage and street supply, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of amphetamine, and was given a two-year jail sentence suspended for two years.

Detective Superintendent Steve Howes, from Northumbria Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “This is an example of the large scale operation we carry out all the time to tackle the people involved in organised crime and causing the most harm in our communities.
“We’re pleased these people – who bring crime and disorder to communities – will serve substantial amounts of time in jail for their crimes.
“In this case the people involved used their daily lives – some had businesses and some worked as taxi drivers - in an effort to hide their activities.
“This should send out a warning for others that we have a wide variety of tactics and methods to tackle the people bringing the most misery to neighbourhoods and we will be coming after them.

“There is no place to hide.”