Members of a gang that imported millions of pounds worth of drugs from mainland Europe have been jailed.
Last month, the criminals from the ‘Breaking Bad’ style gang were caught by officers from Lancashire Police. They imported the drugs to cut and sell them on from their ‘headquarters’ in Darwen.
In an update, today (Wednesday 12 April), more members of the gang have been sent to prison as part of the force’s Operation Warrior. This is their scheme to fight against serious and organised crime, with the force putting gang members in prison for a collective 485 years last year alone.
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Footage from inside the base the group have been operating from shows members of the organised crime group (OCG) putting on forensic suits to weigh out and cut the drugs. This was in excess of 200 kilos of amphetamine, along with mixing agents, made to be sold all over North and South England.
Det Supt Nick Connaughton, from East Division, said: “This criminal gang imported and distributed drugs on a huge scale, making massive profits for themselves by bringing misery to countless numbers of people.
“I hope that our work to take down this OCG, and the lengthy sentences delivered by the courts, sends a clear message to those looking to profit from criminality that we will not tolerate such behaviour in our communities and that we will continue to take the fight to such criminals.”
The cameras also captured huge quantities of cannabis in black bin liners, which were dropped off at the unit in Hollins Grove Mill, Darwen. The drugs were then packaged and sold to others via a network of the OCG’s street dealers.
The investigation started in 2021 after Lancashire Police attributed encrypted mobile phones to the gang leader, Zac Deaffern and co-defendant, John Rowe. The pair were jailed for a total of more than 30 years, along with a number of others in the gang last month.
Also sentenced today were:
- Ashley Morris, 31, of Waters Edge, Middleton, two years and six months for conspiring to supply amphetamine and cannabis.
- John Cropper, 45, of Roseway Avenue, Cadishead, Manchester, two years and eight months for conspiring to supply amphetamine.
- Anthony Richardson, 38, of Mackenzie Street, Bolton, three years and four months for conspiring to supply amphetamine.
- Nicholas Mullin, 33, of no fixed abode, four years and four months for conspiring to supply amphetamine and cannabis.
- Taylor Walker, 29, of Staining Road, Blackpool two years and six months for conspiring to supply cannabis.
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: “It’s important that we send a clear message to criminals that police are coming to get you, and this is another great example of the work officers do, every single day, to disrupt and dismantle organised crime gangs and put them behind bars.
“It’s what Op Warrior is all about, taking the fight to criminals that blight our communities, delivering on my Fighting Crime Plan and seeing even more arrests, more asset seizures and more drugs off our streets. Results like this, which will directly make Lancashire safer, is what the public want to see and delivers on a top priority in my Fighting Crime Plan.
“I would encourage anyone to report suspicious activity, or any information that might help in bringing criminals to justice. We continue to go after more and make sure those involved in organised crime feel the full force of the law and have their day in court.”
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