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Final member of an organised crime group in North England jailed

November 17, 2014, 5:20 pm

The final gang member of an organised crime group who dealt in class ‘A drugs across both the north east and north west of England has been sentenced at court today.

Twelve gang members caught under Durham Constabularys ‘Operation Skyhawk have already received prison sentences totalling more than 60 years.

Today at Teesside Crown Court, Jonny Lee, aged 35 from Ferryhill received a two-year prison term after eventually pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Lee and the others were caught as a result of a lengthy surveillance and evidence-gathering operation which culminated with 200 officers involved in early-morning raids at properties across County Durham and Merseyside in early February 2013.

Operation Skyhawk was an investigation conducted by Durham Constabulary into an Organised Crime Group (OCG) linked to several regional crime groups operating within the north east and surrounding areas. The group was involved in the large scale supply of cocaine and cannabis, and associated money laundering offences from the proceeds of crime.

During the course of the investigation, police officers made a number of significant seizures of both drugs. Three separate seizures of cocaine were made by the police in 2012, including a haul of nearly 2 kilos in September of that year worth over £480,000, while 24kg of cannabis resin was seized in November with an estimated value of £31,000.

In addition to the drugs seizures police also intercepted significant quantities of cash in transit being moved around by the OCG. Three separate seizures of cash were identified, totalling £118,335.

Det Chief Insp Victoria Fuller said; “The cocaine seized during this investigation was of exceptionally high purity. At source the production process typically produces cocaine with a purity of around 90% with the usual purity by the time it enters the UK in the order of 60%.

“The cocaine we seized ranged in its purity from 72% to 91%, meaning the source of the drugs was very close to its point of production and importation. Cocaine currently sold at ‘street level in our area ranges between 12%-22% once it has been cut with other substances, with the average value of a deal being £60 for one gram of cocaine.”

“This demonstrates that the people taken out as part of Operation Skyhawk were at the top of their game and the sentences handed down by the courts reflect that.”

“In 2010 we launched ‘Sledgehammer, a relentless campaign to hit organised crime where it hurts.

As a result we have since arrested and secured convictions against scores of major criminals, and used proceeds of crime legislation to strip them of any material gains they have made from their offending.”

Anyone with information about drug dealing in their area is urged to ring police on 101. Or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 55511 if for any reason they would prefer not to contact the police.

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime

101 – The police non-emergency number

101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.
Find out more information about 101 by following this link.

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