Four men from Manchester have been jailed for more than 35 years for the roles they played in a “massive drugs operation” that spanned the whole of the UK.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) says the four men were snared by officers under codename Operation Achilles – which is an investigation carried out by GMP’s Challenger Team into the encrypted phone network based in South Manchester.
Evidence was gathered relating to class A and class B drug transactions and supply, and money laundering, which, according to police, was not only in Manchester, but nationwide.
The four men were jailed at Manchester Crown Court yesterday.
Mark Evans was jailed for 10 years and six months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, money laundering, and handling stolen goods, Keith Kemp was also jailed for 10 years and six months for conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, and money laundering, John James Reilly was jailed for 12 years for the same offences as Kemp, and Caine Tanswell got two years and eight months for conspiracy to supply class B drugs and money laundering.
GMP says the trial of the four men follows on from the “huge success” of its Operation Venetic investigations – which relates to the Encrochat mobile phone network being deciphered by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The operation has been responsible for getting millions of pounds worth of drugs and cash of Manchester’s streets, GMP said.
At the trial yesterday, the court heard how Mark Evans acted largely as a courier with some involvement in supplying class B drugs, and mainly travelled to Liverpool to carry out his illicit trades, as well as London and Oxford.
He was also particularly active in the Cheetham Hill and Oldham areas of Manchester.
Kemp was, at times, also a courier and was active as a main conspirator for his associates, which involved him travelling to Liverpool to drop cash off and collect drugs, as well as making deliveries in Peterborough, London, Telford, Derby, and Middlesborough.
Reilly widely acted alone, but had connections with the rest of the group and carried out some “business” transactions, as well as sourcing class A drugs for other members of the group and acting as a middleman for various drugs and money transactions.
Tanswell also acted largely alone when purchasing drugs from another member of the group, and was charged with conspiracy to supply class B drugs and money laundering.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Andrew Beard said: “We are absolutely thrilled with today’s result, which has seen four OCG members taken off the streets of Manchester for a considerable period of time.
“Since the Encrochat system was deciphered, GMP’s Challenger Team have continued to hunt down and identify people who have been bringing drugs onto our streets and engaging in illegal activities to keep their drug supplies going.
“If you are involved in supplying drugs, money laundering or working within an organised crime group, we will identify you, arrest you, and prosecute to the full extent of the law.
“We want to protect the people of Greater Manchester and there is no better way to do this than to get people, likes these four individuals, off the streets and behind bars.”
Featured Image – GMP
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.