Cross border drugs gang jailed for almost 90 years

Fifteen members of two organised crime groups (OCGs) from Preston and Liverpool have been jailed for almost 90 years for their roles in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs throughout the Preston area with a street value of around £1.2 million.

The 12 men from Preston and three from Liverpool were all sentenced over three days (Tuesday 31st May – Thursday 2nd June) at Preston Crown Court for range of offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, possession of firearms and ammunition and assisting an offender.

ots_southport_raid

The men were arrested and charged following Operation Rabbit, an eleven-month investigation by South Division’s Targeted Crime Unit into the supply of heroin and cocaine on the streets of Preston.

The investigation began in December 2014 and over the next eleven months, uncovered an organised network which was responsible for a significant portion of drugs supply across the City.

ots_southport_raid2

The head of the Preston OCG, Anthony Watkins, and the head of the Liverpool OCG, Michael Dineley, were the organisers behind the supply of the drugs from Liverpool. Once the arrangements had been made between the two men, the drugs were then couriered in to Preston from Merseyside by Stephen Foster and David Mochrie.

The drugs would be brought into Preston and a brief exchange would take place either inside vehicles or Watkins’ home address.

Once the drugs arrived in Preston, they were then split between the street level dealers who operated on a network of around six mobile phones. They would use these phones to send block text messages to their customers to advertise what quantity and quality of drugs they had available and how much they were on sale for. The phones were seized as part of the investigation and it was found that those messages were potentially going out to almost 180,000 contacts that were stored in the phones.

ots_southport_raid3

During the course of the investigation, it became apparent that the group were also using ‘rural hides’ to hide mixing agents for the drugs in land between the Callon estate and Fishwick Golf Club.

Detective Inspector Pete Danby who led the investigation said; “The sentences handed down to these men are the culmination of a long and complex investigation carried out by the Targeted Crime Unit.

“The investigation established that this gang were responsible for a major drugs supply network incorporating all levels of drug dealing, from street level up to cross-border trafficking over a sustained period of time.

“These individuals caused significant problems on the streets of Preston as a result of their drug dealing and other criminality. I hope the fact that these men have now been jailed reassures local residents that we are committed to tackling organised crime on this scale, in turn helping to make their streets a safer place to live.

ots_southport_raid4

“Drugs cause serious harm to our communities and we will not tolerate the supply of drugs anywhere in our county and further afield. These sentences should also serve as a warning to those who are involved in such criminality – we will continue to dismantle drugs supply networks by bringing those responsible to justice.”

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “These sentences send out a clear message that the police will do everything in their power to keep our streets safe from the criminal gangs whose illegal activities are putting lives at risk.

ots_southport_raid5

“These men were responsible for plotting to supply a phenomenal amount of heroin and cocaine in Preston. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Lancashire’s police officers they are now behind bars and another organised crime gang has been dealt a major blow.

“This is an excellent result and shows that we remain committed to tackling crime and keeping Lancashire safe.”

The sentences are as follows:

Anthony Watkins, 28, of no fixed address, charged with and pleaded guilty to; Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine) and heroin. He has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Matthew Botham, 20, of no fixed address, charged with and pleaded guilty to; Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine) and heroin. He has been sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

Daniel McGuiness, 26, of no fixed address, charged with and pleaded guilty to; Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine) and heroin. He has been sentenced to five years and two months in prison.

Mark Watkins, 24, of Merrick Ave, Preston, charged with and pleaded guilty to; Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine). He has been sentenced to six years and nine months in prison.

Michael Dineley, 27, of Ellerman Road, Liverpool, charged with and pleaded guilty to; Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine). He has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

David Mochrie, 39, of West Road, Prenton, Liverpool, charged with and pleaded guilty to; Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine) and two counts of possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition. He has been sentenced to nine years and four months in prison.

Stephen Foster, 27, of Lapwing Close, Liverpool, charged with and pleaded guilty to; Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine). He has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

A 17 year old from Preston, charged with and pleaded guilty to; conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. He has been sentenced to two years and 299 days in prison.

Wayne Small, 47, of New Hall Lane, Preston was charged with and pleaded guilty to; conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. He has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Joshua Knowles, 19, of Gammull Lane, Ribbleton, Preston, was charged with and pleaded guilty to; conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. He has been sentenced to four years and four months in prison.

Jason Jackson, 26, of NFA, charged with and pleaded guilty to; conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, possession of ammunition without a certificate and an affray. He has been sentenced to six years and six months in prison.

Ryan Blakey, 18, of Lawson Street, Preston was charged with and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. He has been sentenced to three years and 45 days in prison.

Kasib Hussain, 35, of Burrow Road, Preston, charged with and pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Drug (Cocaine) and heroin. He has been sentenced to eight years and one month in prison.

James Wilkinson, 27, of Cotty Brook Close, Preston pleaded guilty to assisting an offender. He has been sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Sam Knowles, 20, of NFA, charged with and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack and heroin, possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin, assault and possession of an offensive weapon. He has been sentenced to six years and six months in prison.

Submit News Contact us with your community, business or sport news. Phone 07581350321

Email ots@otsnews.co.uk

Facebook www.facebook.com/otsnews.co.uk

Twitter www.twitter.com/onthespot_news

Breaking local news as it happens, searchable archives with photographs, the ability to instantly comment on news articles – there are so many advantages to OTS (Onthespot) News.

If you want your news read locally online then send it to ots@otsnews.co.uk – relying only on the newspaper is to restrict yourself to an ever reducing audience.


Comments

comments!



OTS News