October 20, 2021 5.19 pm

Over 100 years in prison for cocaine drug dealing gangs

Three men from Lincoln were jailed

Ten men who were part of two organised crime groups who trafficked high purity cocaine between Lincolnshire and the West Midlands have been jailed for a combined total of over 100 years.

The men distributed an estimated £1.36 million of high purity cocaine.

During warrants executed at properties across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands, specialist search teams seized 2.086kg of uncut cocaine which had a street value of up to £209,000.

The organised crime groups trafficked the Class A drug between Lincolnshire and the West Midlands, with an estimated 17kg of cocaine between January 1, 2019 and January 27, 2020.

The operation was uncovered by detectives and investigators from Lincolnshire Police and the East Midlands Serious Organised Crime Unit (EMSOU).

Officers found evidence of lavish lifestyles with receipts for a staggering £266,225 of goods including luxury clothing still in boxes, which had been purchased at stores in London, Paris, Copenhagen, encrypted mobile phones, and £29,540 of cash. The police raids took place in January 2020.

The investigation also revealed how the organised crime group from Lincolnshire sourced the Class A drugs from a Coventry-based OCG. Couriers made frequent trips to the Coventry area for exchanges to take place. Drug buys also took place in a rural area near Stanton on the Wolds in Nottinghamshire.

Three of those sentenced today – Robert Diaz, Barry Knight, and Stephen Oliver had stood trial at Nottingham Crown Court in August. A further seven men had already pleaded guilty to other charges related to their part in the conspiracy, which also included the production of cannabis.

The jail sentences

  • Robert Diaz, 42, of Maltkiln Lane, Waddington, Lincoln was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison
  • Barry Knight, 60, of Nuneaton Road, Bulkington, Bedworth, Warwickshire. He was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison
  • Stephen Oliver, 44, of Windsor Street, Rugby, Warwickshire. He was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of producing cannabis between June 1, 2019 and January 16, 2020. He was jailed for eight years plus a concurrent sentence of 21 months for production of cannabis
  • Edward Wivell, 41, of North Parade, Lincoln. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely cocaine. He was jailed for six years and four months
  • Andrew Turner, 40, of Holmcroft, Coventry, West Midlands. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely cocaine, one count of producing Class B drugs, namely cannabis, and one RIPA offence. He was jailed for eight years and eight months, plus a concurrent sentence of eight months for cannabis production and four months for failing to provide a passcode
  • Joseph McCluskey, 43, of Parkfield Road, Keresley End, Coventry, West Midlands has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine. He was sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison
  • Jon Moreton, 50, of Torbay Road, Coventry, West Midlands. He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine. He was jailed for 10 years and nine months
  • Stuart Bassett-Hawcock, 34, of Oaklands Close, Lincoln. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely, cocaine. He was jailed for eight years
  • Jack Constable, 34, of Foxhall Road, Nottingham. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine. He was jailed for eight years
  • Michael Kershaw, 41, of Florian Way, Coventry, West Midlands. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine. He was jailed for seven years and six months

There will now be Proceeds of Crimes Act (POCA) proceedings against the offenders to recover assets amassed through their criminal activity.

Kerrin Wilson, Assistant Chief Constable at Lincolnshire Police, said: “This was a complex drugs operation, and today’s result shows the tenacity and dedication of all the investigative teams from both Lincolnshire Police and EMSOU.

“We are determined to tackle the scourge of drugs which blights the lives of many across society, and thanks to the hard work of the investigation team, organised crime gangs which push these drugs have been dealt a swift and powerful blow to their operations.

“Organised criminals prey on users, and their activities can bring with them wider issues of violence and exploitation that goes with drug traffickers. We are pleased to see such a good result today, but we are not complacent; we will continue to work hard to safeguard our communities and protect the vulnerable.”

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