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Drugs gang jailed after £2.6 million drugs bust

12 Jan 2018 17:00 PM

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A gang of drug dealers who were found with more than £2.6 million of cocaine and heroin and nearly £400,000 in cash have been jailed for a total of 52 years.

Six men have been jailed at Newcastle Crown Court today for a conspiracy that saw them flood the North East with Class A substances.

The operation saw organised crime groups work with associates in Liverpool to transport the drugs to their base in Gateshead.

It was from here that the drugs were then distributed to dealers across the region.

An investigation was launched after police were notified of the group’s activity through a separate inquiry.

Detectives from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) then started gathering intelligence before executing warrants in both Gateshead an Liverpool in February 2015.

Following a number of warrants and vehicle searches, £348,774 in cash and an estimated £2.6 million of cocaine and heroin was seized by police.

Six men - including 29-year-old ringleader Ian Appleby - were charged in connection with the conspiracy in October 2015 and today they were jailed for a total of 52 years.

Detective inspector Phil Shutt, from NERSOU, said: "This is a fantastic result and has made a significant dent in the pockets of drug dealers here in the North East.

"A huge amount of work went in to this case and it is extremely satisfying for our detectives to see these men handed lengthy custodial sentences.

"They thought they were above the law and that they would never get caught - ultimately they were no match for our detectives who caught them red handed.

"We know that there are other organised crime groups of this nature and results like this should send a really strong message for anyone who thinks thay can get away with this.

"Our detectives are watching you, they are ready to strike, they are ready to put you before the court and it is just a matter of time before you end up behind bars too."

The gang were jailed over two days at Newcastle Crown Court this week (Thursday and Friday). They include:

• Ian Allenby, 29, of Claremont Walk, Bensham, was jailed for 10 years 7 months.
• Francis Marshall, 43, of Rugby Gardens, Wrekenton, was jailed for 10 years.
• Scott Richardson, 35, of Monksfeld, Felling, was jailed for 6 years 4 months
• Leon Griffiths, 37, of Mercer Drive, Liverpool, was jailed for 10 years.
• Anthony Griffiths, 31, of Goodacre Road, Liverpool, was jailed for 10 years.
• Kevin wilson, 41, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 5 years 8 months.
• Ginier Brown, 31, of Dennison Crescent, Birtley, was sentenced on an earlier date to 18 months suspended for 2 years

Organised Criminal Gang’s roles explained:

• Ian Allenby was the principle member for this OCG and was the primary contact for the Liverpool criminal associates, dealers and couriers.
• Francis Marshall was a significant member of this OCG, who sourced vehicles/couriers to travel to and from Liverpool with cash and drugs enabling this OCG to continue its criminal activities.
• Scott Richardson was a nationwide courier, transporting cash and drugs on behalf of the OCG to enable the continuance of this OCG’s drug dealing activities.
• Ginier Brown provide her home address as a ‘safe house’ for criminal property (cash).

Liverpool criminal associates:

• Leon Griffiths was the organiser of the Liverpool criminal network and one of the main contacts between Ian Allenby, whereby they would arrange the continued supply of controlled drugs from Liverpool into the North East and ensure payment was arranged through the use of trusted couriers.

• Anthony Griffiths (brother of Leon) was also the organiser of the Liverpool criminal network and one of the main contacts between Ian Allenby, whereby they would arrange the continued supply of controlled drugs from Liverpool into the North East and ensure payment was arranged through the use of trusted couriers. Anthony Griffiths house was used to cut/package drugs and also to store criminal cash.

• Kevin Wilson was a nationwide courier for the Liverpool OCG, transporting cash and drugs to the North East.