A major crackdown on the supply of cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine in Blackpool has resulted in a major drug gang being brought to justice.
Operation Enigma saw 28 people charged for their role in supplying cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine in the seaside resort during 2019 and 2020.
The investigation was initially launched in April 2019 following the suspected distribution of drugs in the Blackpool area.
Police carried out a number of raids across the seaside resort between August and October in 2019 and last January.
During these searches a large quantity of Class A drugs, including heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and bulking agent were seized, with a street value of up to £2.8m.
Officers also found £11,000 in cash and more than 90 mobile phones.
This week some of the 28 charged as part of Operation Enigma have been sentenced at Preston Crown Court.
The court heard the ringleader was Adam Garnett from Blackpool who orchestrated the supply of Class A drugs from a prison cell.
His deputy, or ‘lieutenant’, was Grant Lennox who arranged for drugs to be delivered by Liverpudlian Anthony Howie to Kyle Major, Jake Ogden and Darren Ashe, all from Blackpool.
Major, Ogden and Ashe worked in shifts, being paid between £70 and £100 a day, and sold the drugs directly to users. They also used a flat at St Anthony’s Place belonging to Nigel Storey and Emma Wilson to ‘bag up and reload’.
The court heard Storey was assaulted in order to pressure him into his involvement while Wilson was paid for her work with heroin.
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“During April 2019 and January 2020 the AJ group was responsible for supplying cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine in amounts between 7.9kg and 28.6kg,” prosecutor Joe Mr Almond.
“This was supply across county lines by bringing Class A drugs in from Manchester and Liverpool. The drugs themselves had a street value of between £636,000 and £2.8m.
“At the apex was Adam Garnett who organised this conspiracy from prison.”
Major, 20, who has previous convictions for manslaughter and supplying Class A drugs, was jailed for four years and nine months for his ‘significant role’ after pleading guilty.
Storey, 44, and Wilson, 39, will be sentenced in July when the remaining defendants will also learn their fate.
Detective Inspector Steve Harry, of Lancashire Police, said: “Operation Enigma was one of the largest and longest-running campaigns by police targeting criminality and drug-dealing in Blackpool.
“Our officers became aware of a criminal gang bringing drugs into the resort from the Manchester and Merseyside areas.
“The drugs; heroin and crack cocaine, were being dealt to users by the group, who controlled a number of drug lines.
“In response we launched the operation conducting a number of raids, warrants and arrests, with safeguarding support from the Community Safety Partnership, as well as health and social services. Drugs, cash and mobile phones were seized with a number of people arrested and charged."
He added: “The widespread sale, distribution and use of Class A drugs leads to incidents of violence, threats and intimidation, exploitation, as well as family and community tension.
“The activities of drug dealers can have a dramatic effect on our communities. It can ruin lives, fuel other crime, such as burglary and robbery, and can instil fear in our neighbourhoods. As such the community expect we should act swiftly and proportionately.
“We hope the success of Operation Enigma sends a clear message – we will not tolerate drug dealing on our streets, you will be caught and you will be dealt with by the courts.”
Full list of defendants charged as part of Operation Enigma:
- Adam Garnett, 29 – of no fixed address
- Mitchell Flackett, 33 – Easington Crescent, Blackpool
- Chantelle Merry, 34 – Easington Crescent, Blackpool
- Anthony Howie, 35 – Rupert Drive, Liverpool
- David Lomax, 35 – Shaw Road, Blackpool
- Lucy King, 20 – Caroline Street, Blackpool
- Grant Lennox, 27 – George Street, Blackpool
- Peter Farmer, 48 – Raikes Parade, Blackpool
- Ashley Robinson, 37 – Hampton Road, Blackpool
- Warren Elliott, 35 – Adstone Avenue, Blackpool
- Kyle Major, 20, Fairhurst Street, Blackpool
- Scott Skinner, 43 – Butler Street, Blackpool
- Jake Ogden, 20 – Regent Road, Blackpool
- Connor Gardner, 25 – Henthorne Street, Blackpool
- Lee Kirkham, 24 – Durham Road, Blackpool
- Daniel Baron, 25 – Branstree Road, Blackpool
- Callum Kirkwood, 27 – Dingle Avenue, Blackpool
- Thomas Ashton, 27 – Dingle Avenue, Blackpool
- Tinotenda Don Tapfumaneyi 27 – Coleridge Rd, Oldham. Also charged with possession with intent to supply
- Declan Reid, 21 – Chislehurst Avenue, Blackpool
- Dean Hudson, 24 – Shirley Ave, Oldham
- David Mellor, 32 – Irvine Close, Blackpool
- Ryan Taylor, 19 – London Road, Blackpool. Also charged with possession with intent to supply
- Emma Taylor, 40 – London Road, Blackpool
- Darren Ashe, 19 – Palatine Road, Blackpool
- Lewis Henshall, 20 – Lyceum Ave, Blackpool
- Emma Wilson, 39 – St Anthony’s Place, Blackpool
- Nigel Storey, 44 – St Anthony’s Place, Blackpool
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