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Drugs gang jailed for 70 years after police uncover £750,000 cocaine dealing ring in six month probe

A gang of drug dealers have been jailed for almost 70 years after an undercover police sting smashed their organised crime ring.

Officers seized a 3.5kg haul of cocaine with a street value of more than £750,000 in a series of pre-planned raids and arrests.

Large blocks of white powder, packages covered in brown paper and dozens of mobile phones as well as equipment used to sell drugs were found in police searches.

The drug dealing ring was busted after a six month investiagted.

The probe was launched by Staffordshire Police ‘s Major and Organised Crime Unit after information came to light regarding suspected drug dealing involving an organised gang, Stafford Crown Court heard.

A total of 10 members were arrested last year as part of the pre-planned operation by police and the National Crime Agency.

The six-month probe managed to gain enough evidence to ascertain the men were all associates of each other and their interaction was criminal.

On November 5, 2015, police stopped Andrew Szulc’s Ford Transit van and recovered 372g of cocaine. A subsequent search of an industrial unit owned by him revealed a large press and other equipment police said was used in supplying drugs.

Between November 8 and 11, 2015, cocaine with an approximate value of £80,000 were recovered from home of David Birks in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

In the same period 0.5kg of cocaine valued at £20,000 was seized from Anthony Colton’s address in Newcastle-under-Lyme; and £40,000 in cash from the home of Nicholas Withington, also in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Between 25 and 28 November 0.5kg of cocaine was recovered from the address of Robert Farrow in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Searches of some of the defendants’ homes resulted in the recovery of large packages wrapped in brown paper; plastic tubs containing blocks of white powder; scales; items with traces of white powder; large amounts of cash and numerous mobile phones.

Chief Inspector Pete Owen, said: “This is a great result and we are delighted to see 13 men behind bars for a considerable period of time.

“All of these men played a significant role in fuelling drug crime in north Staffordshire and their sentences are very much welcomed.

“I hope this serves as a clear warning to those who think they can commit drug crime in Staffordshire – you will be caught and dealt with. Such criminal activity will not be tolerated.

“Staffordshire Police is committed to tackling drug crime in our communities and our work will continue under Operation Nemesis.

“Drug crime and the associated criminality it brings wrecks lives and creates misery in communities.

“Our efforts to bring these men to justice mean they will no longer be able to bring drugs to the streets of Staffordshire.”

Marc Brookes, 41, was jailed for 10 years; Tomas Chapman, 27, was sentenced to four years and eight months; Andrew Szulc, 51, received four years and nine months; Anthony Colton, 30, got four years and eight months; Samuel Giliker, 29, was jailed for eight years; Andrew Edwards, 36, was sentenced to five years; Andrew Pickerill, 33, got four years and two months; Nicholas Hickson, 46, received 10 years; David Birks, 44, was sentenced to 32 months; and Robert Farrow, 44, was jailed for three years and nine months.

The following four men were arrested at different times during the investigation but all charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine):

Nicholas Withington, 41, was sentenced to two years; Anthony Sargeant, 44, was jailed for five years and 10 months; Nicholas Hughes, received a 12-month community order and 240 hours of unpaid work; and Peter Gajewski, 51, got five years.

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