Drugs gang sentenced to 78 years

Following what he referred to as “a professional and well run police operation” his Honour Judge S HIRST sentenced sixteen defendants to a total of 78 years in prison at Lincoln Crown Court today (11 March). 

The defendants were part of an organised criminal gang and supplied cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, MCAT and cannabis across the UK.  All seventeen had pleaded guilty to offences which included conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, production of cannabis, possession with intent to supply, possession of criminal property, allowing premises to be used for the supply of controlled drugs and dangerous driving previously at Lincoln Crown Court. 

Police forces from across the UK, led by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), were involved in detecting the conspiracy offences, seizing a total of £31,232 in cash, 12.23 kilos of controlled drugs and 10.9 kilos of mixing agents in the process. These seizures would have an approximate street value of £1,613,761. 

Detective Inspector Paul Myers from EMSOU, and who led the investigation said: “Whether it be low level dealing, or highly organised trafficking and distribution, we are committed to tackling all kinds of drug dealing and bringing those responsible to justice.” 

The investigation by the EMSOU officers resulted in the groups drug dealing being brought to an abrupt end and a substantial amount of drugs were prevented from reaching the streets. 

The gang, masterminded by Philip Bell and already a convicted drug dealer, used family and friends within Lincolnshire to take possession of controlled drugs who in turn supplied them to other drug dealers across the UK under Bell’s direction. Bell used his criminal contacts to source the drugs and facilitate the operation. 

The plot began to unravel in October last year (2015) when Linda Haw and her husband, Joao Dos-Reis, both from Wyberton, were stopped making a delivery of amphetamine, cocaine and MCAT valued in excess of £40,000. Linda Haw was a trusted member of the gang taking deliveries, distributing the drugs and storing them at her own home address and that of her friend Margaret Wattam, who also lived in Wyberton. 

In November a search warrant was executed at the home address of Amber Medina who lived in Kirton, 4 kilos of cocaine valued at £158,000 were recovered along with scales and other items related to drug supply. John O’Connell, from Anfield, who had made the delivery to Medina’s address, was arrested travelling back to Merseyside with £15,500 in cash in his possession. 

In December Ian Jones from Knotty Ash in Merseyside was arrested in Boston in possession of 1 kilo of heroin valued at £66,000. 

Michael Chand, from St Ives, Cambridgeshire, was involved in the supply and distribution of heroin, organising those around him. 

Leslie Hodgson was the Humberside link taking possession of drugs from the gang and supplying these in the Humberside area. His partner Paula Jackson, from Hull, was concerned in the supply of amphetamine. 

Francis Kelly, Gary Perry, John O’Connell, Raymond McNally and Neil Grant, all from Merseyside, were involved in the supply of drugs from the Merseyside area into Lincolnshire as a result of Bell’s organisation. 

Louise Baxter from Kirton, was a courier who made numerous trips to Hull on behalf of Bell delivering to Leslie Hodgson. 

Detectives compiled a detailed, comprehensive and complex investigation which led to all of the defendants pleading guilty to their individual charges. 

Following sentencing Deputy Chief Constable Heather Roach said: “We simply won’t tolerate people who deal in drugs, supply them or produce them. We are serious about our approach to organised crime, our specialist officers in EMSOU focus on detailed work targeting these sorts of crimes. 

“This is the second time in as many months I have been able to comment on a significant sentencing.  It’s really about keeping our communities safe and we will continue to identify and charge those who wish to commit serious crime in Lincolnshire and beyond.” 

Lincolnshire/Cambridgeshire based offenders

Philip BELL aged 45 from Boston, Lincs

  • Conspiracy to supply Cocaine, M CAT, Amphetamine.
  • Sentenced to 12 years 8 months  

Michael CHAND aged 34 years from St Ives, Cambridgeshire

  • Conspiracy to supply Heroin, Production of Cannabis.
  • Sentenced to 6 years 8 months

Linda HAW/DOS REIS aged 55 years from Wyberton, Boston, Lincs

  • Conspiracy to supply M CAT, Amphetamine, Possession with intent to supply Cocaine.
  • Sentenced to 5 years 3 months

Joao DOS REIS aged 59 years from Wyberton, Boston, Lincs

  • Possession of Criminal Property.
  • Previously sentenced – Community Order for 12 months- 100 hours unpaid work.

Margaret WATTAM aged 59 years from Wyberton, Boston, Lincs

  • Conspiracy to supply M CAT, Amphetamine.
  • Sentenced to 3 years

Amber MEDINA aged 26 years from Kirton, Boston

  • Conspiracy to supply Amphetamine, Possession with intent to supply Cocaine.
  • Sentenced to 6 years  

Louise BAXTER aged 33 years from Kirton, Boston

  • Conspiracy to supply M Cat, Amphetamine.
  • Sentenced to 20 months  

Merseyside based offenders

Gary PERRY  aged 43 from Kirkby, Liverpool, Merseyside

  • Conspiracy to supply Heroin.
  • Sentenced to 8 years 8 months  

Francis KELLY aged 38 years from Liverpool

  • Conspiracy to supply M CAT, Amphetamine.
  • Sentenced to 4 years  

John O’CONNELL aged 36 years from Anfield, Merseyside

  • Conspiracy to supply Cocaine
  • Sentenced to 6 years  

Ian JONES aged 46 from Knotty Ash, Merseyside

  • Conspiracy to supply Heroin.
  • Sentenced to 6 years (plus a 7 year driving disqualification)

Stephen HOPKINS aged 51 years from Liverpool

  • Conspiracy to supply M CAT, Amphetamine, Possession with intent to supply Heroin.
  • Yet to be sentenced   

Neil GRANT aged 37 years from Liverpool

  • Conspiracy to supply M CAT, Amphetamine.
  • Sentenced to 2 years

Raymond MCNALLY aged 49 years of Kirkdale Liverpool

  • Conspiracy to supply M CAT, Amphetamine.
  • Sentenced to 4 years 4 months

Yorkshire based offenders

Leslie HODGSON aged 54 years from Hull, East Yorkshire

  • Conspiracy to supply M CAT, Amphetamine, Possession Amphetamine with intent to supply, Possession Cannabis with intent to supply.
  • Sentenced to 5 years  

Paula JACKSON aged 43 years from Hull, East Yorkshire

  • Supply Cannabis, allow premises to be used supply of Class B Drugs.
  • Previously sentenced to 8 months custody suspended for 18 months.  Community Order 12 months – 100 hours unpaid work.

David TOWERS aged 25 years from Bramley, Leeds, W/Yorks    

  • Possession with intent to supply Cocaine x 2 Dangerous Driving.
  • Sentenced to 6 years 9 months (plus a 5 year, 4 ½ month driving disqualification)  

11 Mar 16 at 3:04 PM

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