10 men jailed for total of 104 years for their part in £1.36m cocaine conspiracy in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and the West Midlands
Ten men involved in distributing around £1.36m of high-purity cocaine have been jailed for a total of 104 years.
They have been locked up thanks to a major crackdown on the supply of class A drugs in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
They were part of two organised crime groups (OCG) that trafficked the drugs between Lincolnshire and the West Midlands, with an estimated 17kg of cocaine being transported between January 1, 2019, and January 27, 2020.
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.
Officers also uncovered receipts for £266,225-worth of goods including luxury clothing still in boxes that had been purchased at stores in London, Paris, Copenhagen, as well as encrypted mobile phones and £29,540 in cash. The warrants were executed in January 2020.
The OCGs from Lincolnshire sourced the class A drugs from a Coventry-based OCG, with couriers making frequent trips to the Coventry area for exchanges to take place.
Drug buys also took place in a rural area near to Stanton-on-the-Wolds, Nottinghamshire. The operation was uncovered by detectives and investigators from Lincolnshire Police and the East Midlands Serious Organised Crime Unit (EMSOU).
Three of those sentenced today (Wednesday), Robert Diaz, 42, of Maltkiln Lane, Waddington; Barry Knight, 60, of Nuneaton Road, Bedworth; and Stephen Oliver, 44, of Windsor Street, Rugby, 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.
Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson, of 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 that 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.”
There will now be Proceeds of Crimes Act (POCA) proceedings to recover assets amassed through the group's criminal activity.
Robert Diaz was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and jailed for 19 years.
Barry Knight was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and sentenced to 18 years.
Stephen Oliver was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. He previously admitted one count of producing cannabis between June 1, 2019, and January 16, 2020. Oliver was jailed for eight years plus a concurrent 21-month sentence for the production of cannabis.
Edward Wivell, 41, of North Parade, Lincoln, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and jailed for six years and four months.
Andrew Turner, 40, of Holmcroft, Coventry, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs; one count of producing class B drugs, namely cannabis; and one Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) offence. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months, plus a concurrent eight-month sentence for cannabis production and four months for failing to provide a passcode.
Joseph McCluskey, 43, of Parkfield Road, Keresley End, Coventry, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and jailed for nine years and nine months.
Jon Moreton, 50, of Torbay Road, Coventry, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and sentenced to ten years and nine months.
Stuart Bassett-Hawcock, 34, of Oaklands Close, Lincoln, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and jailed for eight years.
Jack Constable, 34, of Foxhall Road, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and sentenced to eight years.
Michael Kershaw, 41, of Florian Way, Coventry, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and jailed for seven years and six months.