Members of drug gang that supplied cocaine and heroin to Flintshire communities jailed

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MEMBERS of a county gang that supplied crack and heroin to communities in Flintshire have been jailed.

Six of the seven members of the organized criminal group appeared in Mold Crown Court for sentencing on Friday.

Matthew Curtis, a prosecutor, told the court the seven people were involved in the conspiracy to supply the Class A drugs from Merseyside to North Wales between July 2017 and February this year.

The operation “followed the pattern of county lines,” Curtis explained, in that it saw phones used to advertise available drugs and substances then delivered to customers through dealers.

In this case, the drugs – cocaine and heroin – were distributed by dealers in the streets of Flint, Bagillt and Holywell.

During the duration of the plot, the group changed the phone used for advertising and drug sales eight times – as well as the use of stolen vehicles with cloned license plates to avoid detection by police.

A “safe house” where drugs and money were kept was set up in Bagillt and members of the group were observed coming and going by secret police surveillance.

The court heard how operations continued even after the group learned they were under surveillance.

The first to be sentenced was Ryan Hamid, 28, of Sanderling Road in Kirkby – described as the “man on top” of the operation who was also known by the nicknames “Ste” and “Ste Badger”.

Charles Lander, in defense, said he did not dispute that his client was “the main person” in the organization.

“He was already convicted in July 2015 for possession of cocaine,” he said. “At the beginning of January 2016, this accused was consuming a staggering amount of cocaine per week – an amount such as to cause him to kill his own life.

“Mr. Hamid says he was unfortunately still using cocaine and was in debt – which is why he got involved in this operation.”

Mr Lander said that despite his role, Hamid did not “live life” and “just had to keep working”.

He added that the 28-year-old’s biggest regret will be being away from his family as his second child was born just a few weeks ago.

Recorder Simon Mills told Hamid: “There is no evidence that you were led by your co-accused or any other – you were leading your own organized criminal group.

“You had a large following, which you exploited for your own greed.”

The court heard how messages advertising crack and heroin were routinely sent to drug addicts in North Wales, some of whom responded by begging the group to stop offering the substances as they tried to stop using them.

Hamid was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.

His “right-hand man”, James Morris, 26, of Hadleigh Road in Kirkby, organized drug trafficking on a “commercial scale” according to the court.

He was also tasked with managing the hotline when Hamid was on vacation and has been described by Recorder Mills as a “hub” and “key link” in the Merseyside-North Wales plot.

Owen Edwards, defending Morris, said his client expressed deep remorse for involving his partner Beth Parker in the plot, as well as the impact on his children – whom he had sought to support by making money “in the fastest way” he could. Beth Parker is to be sentenced at a later date.

Morris was jailed for six years and three months.

Wade Doolan, 28, from Elizabeth Road in Liverpool, has been involved in the conspiracy for around two months, the court has heard.

He was described as a “local representative” and dealer for the group and had lived at the Bagillt home of his conspirator Stuart Ashton.

Ben Jones, defending Doolan, said: “He is a man of good character who has always worked.

“But in the years leading up to that, he and his partner had a premature baby and he was released from labor, spending the next nine months in and out of the hospital.” He racked up huge debts under form of payday loans and fell for the temptation of easy money in this business. ”

He was imprisoned for four years and three months.

Sean Baxter, 54, of Panton Place in Holywell, was involved for a “limited period” and his involvement was “akin to street trafficking,” the court was told.

Before imprisoning him for three years and six months, Recorder Mills told him, “You were a person addicted to the proceeds of this conspiracy. You were persuaded to provide its products and participate for a brief period of three weeks or a month. “What you were doing was helping others in a vulnerable position like yourself to stay addicted and addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.”

Stuart Ashton, 45, from High Street in Bagillt, has been described as a “loyal customer” of the conspiracy who decided to help by providing his house for the group to use as a base.

The property was searched and police found heroin, crack cocaine, cash and phones, one of which was used to send mass messages to patrons.

Myles Wilson, defending Ashton, said: “For the vast majority of the plot he was a client and got involved towards the end.”

Ashton was jailed for four years and six months.

Daniel Delaney, 29, and Twll Twm in Bagillt, was also convicted of his involvement in the conspiracy, as well as dangerous driving and brawling offenses.

Philip Clemo, defending Delaney, told the court his client had been a “slave” to the Class A drugs he was selling and had only been involved for a limited period of around a month.

For all three offenses, Recorder Mills sentenced Delaney to a total of five years’ imprisonment.

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