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11 people sentenced to total of more than 76 years in prison following drug conspiracy operation acr


Merseyside Police are welcoming the sentencing of nine men and two women to a total of 76 years and 11 months in prison for a large-scale drug conspiracy at Liverpool Crown Court today, Friday 1 March. The sentences follow an extensive investigation into a Sefton-based organised crime group who supplied cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis across England, Scotland and South Wales between 2016 and 2017.


During the course of the investigation, more than 34 kilos of drugs were recovered, worth an estimated street value of £410,000.


38-year-old Lee Almond of Heathfield Road, Litherland was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs

Lee Almond from Litherland

24-year-old David Kelly of Byron Street, Bootle was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.

David Kelly from Bootle

Almond and Kelly were acknowledged as heads of the crime group, who facilitated the distribution of cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis to Aberdeen in Scotland and Cardiff in South Wales via trusted couriers, who formed part of the crime group.


The group utilised the cover of lawfully registered and insured vehicles to transport controlled drugs and using the cover of coach travel within the United Kingdom to mask their intentions of supplying controlled drugs, within the United Kingdom.

Other members of the crime group jailed today were as follows:

54-year-old Carl Larkin of Marsh Lane, Bootle was sentenced to 5 years and 2 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs

Carl Larkin from Bootle

32-year-old Lee Cowie of Provost Fraser Drive, Aberdeen was sentenced to 2 years a 9 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs

Lee Cowie from Aberdeen

27-year-old Charlotte McMullen of Hawthorne Road, Bootle was sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs

Charlotte McMullen of Hawthorne Road, Bootle

24-year-old Jonathan Ford of The Scythes, Netherton was sentenced to 4 years 6 months in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs

Jonathan Ford of The Scythes, Netherton

48-year-old Andrew Williams of Masefield Road, Crosby was sentenced to 8 years in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs

Andrew Williams of Masefield Road, Crosby

39-year-old Shane Hodgson of Westminster Avenue, Netherton was sentenced to 6 years 6 months in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs

Shane Hodgson of Westminster Avenue, Netherton

27-year-old Jade Hazlett of Norton Street, Bootle was sentenced to 5 years in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs

Jade Hazlett of Norton Street, Bootle

46-year-old Brian Morse of Old Sails Lodge, Cardiff was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs

Brian Morse of Old Sails Lodge, Cardiff

44-year-old Matthew Goode of Glyn Collen Pentwyn, Cardiff was sentenced to 9 years 6 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs

Matthew Goode of Glyn Collen Pentwyn, Cardiff

Between 3 November 2016 and 29 March 2017, Merseyside Police, supported by colleagues from South Wales and Police Scotland, identified several events that secured crucial evidence against the crime group, which resulted in significant seizures and the recovery of more than 400 grams of cocaine, 30 kilograms of cannabis and 4 kilograms of amphetamine.


On Friday 4 November 2016, officers South Wales Police stopped a car on its return journey from Merseyside, which was found to contain more than a kilo of cannabis, two kilograms of amphetamine, and resulted in the imprisonment of three South Wales organised crime group members Liam Wall, Connor Morse and Christopher El Gifari in July 2017. Wall was sentenced to nine years and seven months; Morse was sentenced to eight years; and Elgifari was jailed for three years and seven months.


On Wednesday 4 January 2017, officers from Merseyside Police stopped Carl Larkin, resulting in the seizure of cocaine and amphetamine destined for South Wales.


On Tuesday 17 January 2017, officers from Merseyside Police supported by Police Scotland evidenced Andrew Williams’ travelling to Aberdeen utilising public coach services. Travelling from Liverpool in possession of commodity which he secreted in his holdall, Williams was subsequently arrested and imprisoned for 22 months for drugs offences following a prosecution by Police Scotland. The arrest saw the recovery of 900 grams of cannabis bush.


On Tuesday 14 February 2017, a drug warrant was carried out at an address in L20, resulting in the seizure of a significant amount of controlled drugs including 1.68 kilograms of cannabis bush and 29 kilograms of cannabis resin.


On Monday 13 March 2017, officers from Merseyside Police, supported by South Wales Police, stopped crime group members in possession of 258 grams of cocaine secreted within a battery pack.


Additionally, numerous trips were made to Aberdeen and Cardiff by members of the crime group in order to carry out their criminal enterprise.


Speaking after the sentences, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Reardon said: "We are pleased that the courts have dealt with this organised crime group in such a robust way, which reflects the seriousness and scale of their criminal activity, which took place over a sustained length of time and across large geographic areas.


"Lee Almond and David Kelly led an organised criminal group who spread the misery of drug supply across three countries, with no regard for the devastating impact their actions caused within those communities."


"This was a long-running and thorough investigation by our committed team of detectives, which will significantly reduce the impact that drug supply has on areas of South Sefton, Scotland and Wales and I want to thank South Wales Police and Police Scotland for their contribution to bringing these men and women to justice today."


"But I would like to reassure the decent members of our communities that Merseyside Police is committed to tackling the supply of drugs and we will continue to proactively tackle criminal gangs who think nothing of flooding the streets with dangerous drugs in order to profit from other people's misery. We rely on our communities to tell us when there are criminal issues in their area so that we can take positive action and protect them."


"Any information supplied to us in relation to serious and organised crime will be acted upon and people like Almond, Kelly and their group being removed from the streets for a long time.


Such large investigations can take considerable time to bring to fruition and communities may not be aware of police activity. But rest assured, if you engage with us, we will act decisively to target those communities at the greatest risk of harm, both from drug supply, and from the serious violence that such business invariably attracts." Anyone with information about those involved in serious and organised crime, including the supply of controlled drugs, can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, you can DM our social media desk @MerPolCC or call 101.


Strike Day:

Drugs seized:

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