Drug gang jailed for 177 years
Date published: 06 May 2014
FIVE Oldham men were part of a professional gang of drug traffickers jailed for a total of 177 years after flooding the North-East with heroin and cocaine.
James Kelly (29), of Church Street, Royton, who controlled and managed couriers between Manchester and Teesside was jailed for 10 years and eight months.
Former Army infantryman Jamie Knox (25), now a warehouseman of Oakworth Close, Oldham stored and bagged drugs. He was jailed for nine years and four months.
Painter and decorator David Wrigley (32), of Oldham Road, Failsworth, made 13 trips to Teesside in 16 days to deliver drugs and collect cash and was stopped with £52,600 in cash. He was jailed for seven years.
Mark Dutton (59), of Nallgate, Rochdale, and Stephen Mayall (30), of High Barn Street, Royton, who both made more than 20 trips, were each jailed for six years and eight months.
Personal trainer Ben Graham (25), of Greenwood Street, Oldham, who made 12 trips was jailed for six years. His partner Hannah Hesketh, of James Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, who drove him to Teesside, was jailed for three and a half years.
Ben Crombie (31), from Littleborough, was jailed for 14 years. The judge said he was the “leading character” who directed the conspiracy and recruited others, distancing himself from the drugs.
Crombie funded expensive homes, cars and private education from the plot Teesside Crown Court heard. Kelly was his right-hand man,
The well-organised drugs network dealt drugs on an industrial scale, making more than 100 trips taking vast amounts of Class A drugs and money between Teesside and Manchester.
Officers seized almost 6.9kg of heroin, 2.26kg of cocaine, almost half a kilo of crack cocaine and more than 22kg in cutting agents following raids by Oldham and Cleveland Police. The recovered drugs were worth a total of £824,686. Police found £127,966 in cash - amounts prosecutor Nick Dry said were the “tip of the iceberg”.
The longest prison sentence was given to Robert Hickman — the leader of the Teesside operation — who was jailed for 16 years. He was among 14 people from Teesside who were jailed.
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