Man jailed for part in drugs gang

A HECKMONDWIKE man was one of 19 men jailed after a two-year operation to smash a sophisticated drugs ring.

Ian Connolly, 38, of Northfield Terrace, was sentenced to seven years and six months after thousands of ecstasy tablets were found in a van.

Drugs with a street value of more than 2.24m were recovered during the investigation which centred around West Yorkshire and Nottingham.

The gang distributed ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis and cannabis resin.

In the investigation by the National Crime Squad, one seizure involved thousands of ecstasy tablets found in a van on the M1 near Barnsley.

On other occasions couriers were seen transferring drugs between vehicles at the Bay Horse pub in East Ardsley, and at the Rothwell Sports Centre, Rothwell.

Members of the gang were seen picking up cocaine from a petrol station in north London.

Detectives from the National Crime Squad’s Rugby branch used surveillance techniques and mobile phone records, and say the successful convictions “dismantled a drugs network from the top to the bottom”.

Det Insp Russ L’Homme said: “We believe this gang, which often used violence, had been conducting their drug trafficking activities in a successful manner for many years.”

Because of the extent of the operation and the number of men involved, three separate trials were held, culminating at Sheffield Crown Court last Wednesday, when ringleader Jonathan Quinn, of Darnhall Crescent, Bilborough, Nottingham, was jailed for a total of 18 years.

Judge Roger Keen described him as a “major figure in the distribution of class A, B and C drugs in the north of this country”.

ecstasy

As a result of the thousands of ecstasy tablets found in November 2004, Connolly was jailed for seven years and six months; Michael Scanlon, 38, of Aspley Lane, Nottingham, was jailed for 10 years; Ian Midwood, 38, of Bank View, Huddersfield, for 10 years, and Lee Cox, 27, of North Park Street, Westborough, Dewsbury for six years and nine months.

Andrew Keating, 37, of Swillington Lane, Swillington, Leeds, was jailed for seven years for conspiracy to supply cannabis and cannabis resin, and Michael Walker, of Servia Drive, Leeds, was sentenced to three years.

Paul Mawman, 29, of Longroyd Street North, Beeston, Leeds, who acted as a courier for the Leeds operation of the cannabis conspiracy to earn money to feed his own cocaine habit, was jailed for four months; Simon Cross, 26, of Covert Close, Hucknell, Nottinghamshire, for two years; and Gulf War veteran Dean Cumberpatch, of Mapplewells Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, also received a two-year sentence.

At an earlier court hearing, Michael Langford, 30, of Bankwood Close, Aspley, Nottingham, was jailed for seven years for his role as courier and for storing 18kg of cannabis, 21kg of amphetamine and 5,000 ecstasy tablets at his home.

Michael McDonald, 35, of Ashbourne Court, Bulwell, Nottingham, was jailed for conspiracy to supply cocaine, along with Ian Gibson, 25, of Kingsmoor Close, Top Valley, Nottingham, who was jailed for eight years, Jamal Ellahi, 38, of Cromwell Street, Nottingham, for seven years, and Jason Wesley, 35, of Queens Road, Beeston, Nottingham, who received a five-year sentence.

Paul Anderson, 25, of Jarrow Gardens, Top Valley, Nottingham, was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to supply amphetamines.

Mark Dickinson, 39, of Birchover Road, Bilborough, Nottingham, was jailed for three years and nine months for his role in the cocaine conspiracy.

And Gary Oldham, 26, of Albert Avenue, Stapleford, Nottingham, was sentenced to 18 months for possession of amphetamine and cannabis with intent to supply.

Proceeds of crime hearings will be held later this year to establish how much money the gang made.