26/02/2010

'Food Blender' Drug Gang Jailed

A gang at the heart of a cocaine-dealing network in Manchester is behind bars after police smashed the lucrative operation.

Wayne Coleiro, 38, of Bryony Close, Aaron Slaven, 23, of Andover Close, Cheshire, Michael Kelly, 36, of Bollington Road, Miles Platting, Michael Johnson, 28, of Pollard Square, Partington, Gary Gairns, 29, of Layton Street, Ancoats, Andrew McCann, 26, of Hillman Close, Collyhurst, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at an earlier hearing.

As did Matthew Neale, 38, of Halton Bank, Irlam, Patrick Matthews, 41, of Rutland Street, Failsworth and Lee Anderson, 38, of Westleigh Street, Harpurhey,

Yesterday eight of the nine men responsible for the conspiracy were sentenced to a total of more than 40 years in prison at Minshull Street Crown Court.

Coleiro was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Kelly was sentenced to eight years in prison. Johnson was sentenced to three years in prison. Gairns was sentenced to four years in prison.

McCann was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. Neale was sentenced to seven years in prison. Matthews to three-and-a-half years in prison. Anderson was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Between January and March 2009, police surveillance teams spotted the gang exchanging cocaine for cash.

On 12 February 2009, police stopped Johnson and Slaven in their car and a plastic bag containing 1/4kg of cocaine - with McCann's fingerprints on it - was found in the glove box.

McCann was later caught in possession of a white package but managed to escape. The package contained a 1kg block of cocaine broken into two, and its packaging was typical of a recently imported block of cocaine. Neale and Coleiro's fingerprints were on the drugs.

Police watched Kelly's home in Miles Platting and spotted Anderson, Kelly and Matthews making arrangements to mix cocaine with adulterants to increase its weight and make it more profitable.

Matthews drove Kelly to buy a food blender that they were about to use to mix the drugs when police stormed the house. A 1kg block of cocaine was found in the blender and a further 1kg block of cocaine was found wrapped up on the kitchen worktop.

Forensic analysis of the drugs paraphernalia revealed the fingerprints of Gairns and Kelly.

Detective Chief Inspector John Ogdon from Greater Manchester Police, said: "Our investigation unearthed a lucrative and widespread criminal network involved in selling drugs.

"We have smashed a major drugs ring by disrupting the supply of lethal drugs onto our streets and it is very pleasing to see the main players behind bars."

(PR/BMcC)

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