Drugs gang who brought Â£700k of cocaine to Fylde coast streets locked up for 102 years
AÂ criminal gang who supplied hundreds of thousands of pounds of drugs - including dangerous class A substances - to the Fylde coast has been sentenced to a total of more than a century behind bars.
Professional boxer Jack Arnfield, who admitted dealing cannabis, was among those sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Friday.
Arnfield, 29, of Ribby Road, Kirkham, received a 12 month suspended sentence and must do 250 hours of unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis.
Other defendants in the case, called 'Operation Jennet' by police, included John Casey, 31, of Seventh Avenue, Blackpool; Daryl Wellings, 28, of Rathmore Gardens, Layton, Blackpool; Bradley McSpirit, 29, of Wetherby Avenue, South Shore; Blu Leahy, 24, of Powell Avenue, Blackpool; Declan Morgan, 25, of Melville Road, Bispham; and Steven Miller, 25, of Carr Road, Fleetwood, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine; and Joseph Murphy, 28, of Percy Street, Fleetwood, who was found guilty at an earlier trial.
Jessica Lang, 21, of Elgin Place, Grange Park, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply cannabis.
Joshua Shaw, 26, of Henson Avenue, Marton, was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine but pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis.
Anthony Gill, 33, of Worcester Road, Middleton, Manchester, and Bradley Gill, 28, of Ascot Road, Blackpool, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and were sentenced at an earlier date.
Gareth Oulton, 40, of Browning Avenue, Thornton, and Brynley Oulton, 34, of Clifton Drive, St Annes, pleaded guilty to money laundering.
Scott Le Drew, 31, of Aysgarth Court, Marton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply cannabis, possession with intent to supple amphetamine, and possession of a prohibited weapon.
On Friday, the court heard how more than a kilogram of cannabis with a street value of around Â£18,000 was found at Arnfield's home during police raids as part of the operation to smash the drugs ring. He was previously cleared of allegations he played a role in the huge plot to supply class A drugs.
Prosecutor Martin Reid said he played a"significant role in the context of his own dealing", adding: "He not only is passing on cannabis, but possessing equipment to cultivate it.
"He has three convictions for 11 offences including four for supplying cocaine and four of supplying cannabis in 2010."
Arnfield's pro boxing career was previously put on hold when he was jailed in 2010 for 18 months for drug offences.
After being freed from prison Arnfield had to wait until the British Boxing Board Of Control cleared him to box again. At the time he said: "I didn’t deal in drugs, but I allowed myself to be used as a courier – I was in the wrong, and I was naive and stupid.”
He returned to pro boxing and on February 17 this year he was defeated in the British middleweight contest by champion Tommy Langford. By then the Lancashire Police investigation was well underway.
Four days later, on February 22, Arnfield's home was among 10 addresses in Blackpool, Kirkham and Manchester raided as part of Operation Jennet.
Six kilograms of high purity cocaine, with a street value of Â£700,000, was seized from the addresses, along with cash and other drugs. The court heard this was estimated to be a snapshot of the true scale of the dealing operation, with 28kg of cocaine estimated to be involved.
Police say the organised crime group was headed by Anthony and Bradley Gill, who, together with other distributors of controlled drugs, coordinated the supply of 'significant amounts' of class A and B drugs in the North West.
Leader Anthony Gill was involved in sourcing drugs, predominantly cocaine, from his criminal contacts. He organised the handover of cash and deliveries of cocaine with Bradley Gill and used encrypted phones to communicate with other conspirators.
Bradley Gill controlled the Blackpool-based cash and drug couriers and dealing with the distributors who took cocaine from the Gills’ stock. He was also in contact with ‘upstream’ drug suppliers from outside Blackpool.
Daryl Wellings worked for the Gills as a cash collector, gathering in money from Blackpool-based distributors and handing it to cash couriers. He was also involved in the storing and processing of cocaine.
Scott Le Drew, who was the partner of Jessica Lang, was also involved in the distribution of drugs on behalf of the Gills. In 2017, he took over Wellings’ role as the Gills’ primary cash collector, gathering in drugs money from the distributors in Blackpool.
John Casey was also a distributor who sourced cocaine from the Gills and was in contact with the Gills’ cash and drugs couriers during the conspiracy.
Bradley McSpirit sourced significant amounts of cocaine from the Gills and was involved in deliveries of cocaine on their behalf.
Declan Morgan was a distributor of cannabis and cocaine that he sourced from the Gills.
Audio recordings by the police caught Jessica Lang, who is the sister of Anthony and Bradley Gill, discussing LeDrew's criminal activities, and she was present with him while he carried out his crimes. She passed on messages between other conspirators and often instructed Le Drew on how he should collect his cash.
She cried loudly in the dock as Judge Simon Medland commented that she had a respectable job but had become "sucked into" a life of crime.
Blu Leahy also sourced cocaine from the Gills for onward distribution. When his home was searched, the police recovered some small snap bags containing cocaine, a tick list and over Â£1,800 in cash. He was heard on audio recovered from Scott Le Drew’s vehicle conducting what the Crown says were handovers of cash in payment for cocaine.
Joseph Murphy acted as a trusted courier for the Gills, receiving cocaine from upstream suppliers and moving it on to distributors. He was in direct contact with the Gills and dealers.
Steven Miller sourced cocaine from Wellings, and was also heard giving money to Le Drew in payment for cocaine.
Anthony Gill, 33, Worcester Road, Middleton. Manchester - 14 years
Bradley Gill, 28, Ascot Road, Blackpool - 14 years
Bradley McSpirit, 29, Wetherby Avenue, South Shore, Blackpool - 11 years and four months
Daryl Wellings, 28, Rathmore Gardens, Layton - 10 years and eight months
Joseph Murphy, 28, Percy Street, Fleetwood - 10 years
John Casey, 31, Seventh Avenue, South Shore, Blackpool - nine years and four months
Declan Morgan, 25, Melville Road, Bispham - eight years and eight months
Blu Leahy, 24, Powell Avenue, Blackpool - eight years
Steven Miller, 25, Carr Road, Fleetwood - six years
Scott Le Drew, 31, Aysgarth Court, Marton, Blackpool - five years
Jessica Lang, 21, Elgin Place, Grange Park, Blackpool - five years
Jack Arnfield, 29, Ribby Road, Kirkham - 12 month suspended sentence, 250 hours of unpaid work
Joshua Shaw, 26, Henson Avenue, Marton, Blackpool - 12 month suspended sentence, 250 hours of unpaid work
Gareth Oulton, 40, Browning Avenue, Thornton - 12 month suspended sentence, 250 hours of unpaid work
Brynley Oulton, 34, Clifton Drive, St Annes - 12 month suspended sentence, 250 hours of unpaid work
Det Ch Insp Stuart Dixon, of Lancashire Constabulary’s serious crime team, said: “This organised criminal gang was involved in bringing huge amounts of Class A drugs into Blackpool and profiting from their illicit trade.
“We are committed to tackling organised crime groups working in the county and on this occasion focusing on the Fylde coast. These sentences send out a clear message to all those involved in organised crime. Organised crime, including the production and supply of drugs, the violence which controls this market, and how it impacts on vulnerable people, blights our communities and puts ordinary law-abiding people at risk.
“I would like to reassure the public we will keep up the pressure on those involved in serious and organised crime in Lancashire, continually striving to protect the most vulnerable. We will relentlessly pursue these offenders and put them before the courts to make our streets safer.”