[T]hree men and a woman have been jailed for their role in a drugs supply conspiracy between Liverpool and Barrow after a lengthy and complex investigation by the South Cumbria Drug Squad.
The following were sentenced at Preston Crown Court today (June 8th):
- Kyle Griffiths, 27, of Gaywood Avenue, Liverpool, was sentenced to seven and a half years.
- David Mason, 38, of Settle Street, Barrow, was sentenced to three years and five months.
- Daniel Watts, 42, of Fallowfield Road, Lytham St Anne’s, was sentenced to three years and five months.
- Stephanie Langhorn, 33, of The Green, Barrow, was sentenced to three years and three years.
- Stephen Twinney, 47, of The Green, Barrow, was given community order and ordered to undertake 120 hours unpaid work.
The group were arrested as part of an extensive investigation, codenamed Operation Savannah. The head of this group, Kyle Griffiths, was known to Cumbria Police after being sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2013 for trafficking class A drugs to Barrow from Merseyside. Upon being released from custody, and whilst still on prison licence, Griffiths again set up his criminal enterprise in South Furness, recruiting local people to work for him. This organised crime group worked under the brand name ‘Ali’.
Mason, Langhorn and Watts admitted to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and Twinney admitted to three counts of permitting his premises to be used in the supply of class A drugs.
Mason was involved in transporting the drugs and carrying out the street dealing. He was arrested after officers swooped on him driving back from Merseyside with a quantity of drugs in his possession. South Area Drugs Unit were able to link the drugs back to Griffiths.
Langhorn and Watts acted as street dealers throughout this conspiracy, meeting drug users and supplying the drugs on behalf of the group, while Twinney allowed his premises to be used for the supply of the drugs.
The investigation came to a conclusion on 25th November 2017 when Cumbria Police executed simultaneous warrants in Barrow and Liverpool resulting in Griffiths and Mason being detained.
At Griffiths’ home address officers located around £3,500 in cash and mobile phones which connected him to the conspiracy
Langhorn and Twinney were arrested at their home address when officers executed a warrant at the premises. As officers forced entry to the address drugs were discarded out of the window to where officers were stood waiting below.
Watts was later arrested by Lancashire officers in Lytham St Annes.
A spokesperson for the South Cumbria Drugs Squad said: “Operation Savannah was a complex and intricate investigation involving many hours of hard work by officers. This County Lines gang, headed by Griffiths, for months brazenly operated from Liverpool to Barrow, taking their criminality away from where he lived. Griffiths believed he had gained knowledge from his previous arrest and used this in an attempt to evade police which led to officers spending a lot of time piecing together his mobile phone network. Griffiths clearly believed he was sophisticated in his criminal knowledge and would not be identified/arrested. Today’s sentence has shown that this was very naïve and no matter what steps these criminals take to avoid capture, we will put in whatever work is required to identify, apprehend and prosecute them.
“Whilst such gangs exist we will do everything in our power to disrupt their activity. The sentences show that the courts will deal robustly with persons involved in this type of offence. People need to be aware that should they become involved in this type of organised crime we will pursue them and they can expect a lengthy custodial sentence.
“Any presence of drugs in Cumbria is unacceptable, they have a negative effect on the whole community. We will continue to target those individuals and groups who believe they can supply drugs in Cumbria and we will use all legislation open to us to make sure those drugs are recovered and persons are brought to justice.
“We are working hard to tackle this area of crime and ask anyone with information about drug dealing to get in touch with us. The part the public can play in bringing these offenders to justice can be vital.”