Members of a drugs gang which flooded the north west with cocaine and amphetamine have been locked up.
The Salford and Wigan-based organised crime group led by Michael Doyle, 35, peddled drugs around Manchester, Yorkshire and Cheshire, with police seizing more than £450,000 worth of the class A and B drugs.
Ten drug dealers have now been jailed.
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Three of them were involved in a separate plot, involving a care worker selling drugs to two colleagues she worked with at a care home for the elderly in Lancashire.
Doyle is due to be sentenced at a later date.
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Manchester Crown Court heard that Michael Ellis, 48, Lee Jones, 46, and Glenn Muddiman, 39, were involved in the conspiracy led by Doyle.
The trio stored the cocaine and amphetamine, mixed it with adulterants and re-pressed it using hydraulic presses, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Muddiman was found with 25 kilos of amphetamine and three quarters of a kilo of adulterant at his home. Officers recovered 21 kilos of adulterant when Jones was arrested.
Prosecutor Andrew Scott said Michael Mason, 28, was said to have a ‘trusted role’ and collected payments on behalf of Michael Doyle - during one evening he collected £11,435.
Leo Doyle, 27, Michael Doyle's cousin, arranged packages on two occasions on behalf of his relative.
Daniel Partington, 33, Darryl Jennings, 34, and Andrew Norris, 51, acted as couriers.
Members of the gang used encrypted phones provided by Michael Doyle to try and avoid detection, including 'Cloud 9' SIM cards.
Officers conducted covert surveillance to track the movements of the drug dealers and record meetings over several months, including hundreds of messages in which the group spoke between each other about various deals, the payment for the drugs and even poorly mixed drugs.
In one such message recovered from Jones to Muddiman, he said: “I can’t sell sh*t like that.”
About a kilo of cocaine and 25 kilos of amphetamine was recovered, as well as hydraulic presses, adulterant to bulk out the drugs and other drug paraphernalia.
Police believe the drugs seized from the gang could be worth up to £456,000.
Norris said he got involved after his son Dominic had accrued a debt he couldn't pay.
Norris tried to help financially but was told the debt had increased, he said a basis of plea document. Dominic Norris, 22, denied being in debt.
"The defendant was frightened for his son and was desperate to protect him," the document which was read in court said.
"To protect his son the defendant agreed to be responsible, a guarantor, for his son's debt."
He was told to collect and transport packages.
A man came to his house with a shotgun in a bag, strapped to the underside of an ironing board, and told him someone would pick it up the next day.
They didn't, and police later found it at his home along with a kilo of cannabis and £12,000 in cash.
Andrew Norris was also involved in a separate drugs conspiracy with his son Dominic and his 46-year-old partner Helen Atkinson.
Atkinson was a care worker at The Lodge, Buckshaw Retirement Village, in Chorley.
Phone records show two members of staff were texting Atkinson with orders for cocaine and cannabis.
Atkinson said she became involved through her partner Andrew Norris, who was also part of the other drugs plot, while his son Dominic acted as a courier.
Police uncovered this drugs plot while investigating the Doyle gang. It was not suggested drugs were dealt at the care home.
In other basis of plea documents, Jones said he became involved after receiving 'threats and intimidation'.
Muddiman said he was involved for just nine days and was introduced by Jones.
During the four day sentencing hearing, Judge Timothy Smith said: “The organisation and supply of class A drugs is clearly a very serious offence.
“Those dealing in such drugs expect to make money from the weak and vulnerable who accrue drug debts which in itself brings with it misery, despair, life changing injuries and disorders and often death to those who are addicted to drugs.
“It also brings about a cycle of crime.
“Crime committed by drug users themselves to fund their habit and crime committed by those dealing in drugs, dealing in a whole manner of criminal means such as extortion, threats of violence, and using weapons including guns and knives used to protect for them what can be easily gained.
“This type of offending is to be treated and dealt with seriously.”
He said that the evidence of the drug preparation suggests blocks of repressed cocaine were prepared in ‘kilo blocks at a time’.
In one block delivered to a dealer in Sheffield, the kilogram of cocaine was said to be of 87 per cent purity.
Of Muddiman, he said he got involved in the organisation in a ‘wholly misguided and cynical way to make money before Christmas’.
Ellis, of Rock Bank, Salford, was said to have become addicted to drugs and accumulated debts, and saw the enterprise as an ‘easy way' to pay off those debts.
He admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and was jailed for seven years.
Jones, of Long Lane, Wigan; admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and amphetamine and was jailed for eight years and ten months.
Muddiman, of Crossfield Drive, Wigan; pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply amphetamine and was jailed for seven years and seven months.
Mason, of Kersal Way, Salford, who said he’d had a ‘spiritual awakening whilst in custody, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply amphetamine and money laundering, and was jailed for five years and ten months.
Jennings, of Churchill Way, Salford; admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and was jailed for five years and ten months.
The court heard he was having ‘demands made upon him’ by HMRC and National Insurance to the tune of £8,500 after taking over the management of his family’s pub.
Partington, of Captain Fold Road, Salford, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and was jailed for five years and six months.
“You committed these offences at a time when your business was at a low point and you foolishly thought getting involved would help you and your family,” Judge Smith said.
Leo Doyle, of Milan Street, Salford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine and was jailed for three years and five months.
Of Doyle, the judge said: “You found yourself presented with an opportunity to earn money and you did so at a time when you found life hard.”
Andrew Norris, 51, of Shelley Close, Chorley, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply cannabis, possession with intent to supply cannabis and possessing a shotgun without a certificate.
He was jailed for seven years and nine months.
Atkinson, 46, of Shelley Close, Chorley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply cannabis.
She was jailed for two years and ten months.
Dominic Norris, 22, of Shelley Close, Chorley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.
He was jailed for three years.
Michael Doyle, of HMP Forest Bank; will be sentenced at a later date.
'Drugs destroy lives'
After the case, Detective Constable David Moran, of GMPs Serious and Organised Crime Group, said: "This was a complex investigation involving a large team of detectives who closely monitored the group, eventually leading to enough intelligence being gathered for officers to be able to execute raids on the relevant addresses that were housing large quantities of drugs and cash.
"These men were key figures in a large north west drug supply chain and I am happy with the sentences received this week.
"Our officers have worked extremely hard to bring these people to justice but most importantly it means that we now have nine less criminals on the streets of Greater Manchester, making our local communities a safer place to live.
"I'd like to remind anyone concerned in the supply of drugs, that we will catch up with you and make sure that you face the consequences of your actions.
"Drugs destroy lives and contribute to lining the pockets of dangerous criminals. I'd urge anyone with information or anyone concerned about drug supply in their area to contact police so we can continue to fight this type of crime."
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