Eighteen men jailed over drugs ring

Eighteen men have been jailed for their parts in an organised crime group which supplied class A drugs to dealers across Lincolnshire.

The men from London, Peterborough, Grimsby, Derbyshire and Boston, were each sentenced to between 16 months and 13 years at Nottingham Crown Court.

An East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) spokesman said the drugs had a street value of about £2m.

He added the group was "highly organised" and "professional".

Speaking about the investigation - named Operation Latious - leading up to the convictions, EMSOU's Det Ch Insp Joe Elliott said they discovered a very comprehensive set-up in Boston.

"They were receiving large amounts of cocaine which was then being supplied to dealers in Boston and Lincolnshire.

"It was highly organised in that the group had individuals with different jobs. Some were store men, others were responsible for mixing it and others distributed it to the dealers," he said.

'High purity cocaine'

The investigation showed how the Lincolnshire-based group, headed by Nicholas Howarth, 44, of Wing Drive, Boston and Leigh Upsall, 30, of Keel Drive, Kirton, originally sourced high purity cocaine from Hakki Salih, 50, of Maroons Way, London, from December 2010.

The group then moved on to a Peterborough-based supplier from May 2011, headed by Andrew Friel, 30, of Geddington, Peterborough and Matthew Purves, 29, of Stewartby Avenue, Peterborough.

When these supply networks had closed down, Howarth and Upsall used Leslie Gray, 49, of Hope Street, Grimsby until they were arrested in November 2011.

Howarth was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison and Upsall to 10 years. Both were charged with conspiracy to supply and distribute class A drugs.

Salih was sentenced to nine years and four months. Friel was given 12 years and Purves 10 years in prison. Gray was sentenced to eight years. They were also charged with conspiracy to supply and distribute class A drugs.

Defendants and sentences

All were found guilty of conspiracy to supply and distribute class A drugs.

  • Christopher Murton, 25, of Roseberry Avenue, Boston - four years
  • Colin Gibson, 55, of Station Road, Kirton - five years and nine months
  • Timothy Hampson, 41, of London Road, Wyberton - five years and nine months
  • Lee Quigley, 42, of Taylor Close, Boston - five years and four months
  • Richard Johnson, of HMP North Sea Camp, six years and eight months
  • Gavin Chappell, 29, of Orchard Mews, Peterborough - four years and eight months
  • Ian Foster, 29, of Lessingham, Orton Brimbles, Peterborough - six years
  • Ashley Jones, 28, of Stanground Peterborough - four years and six months
  • Ian Anderson, 44, of The Mead, Peterborough - four years and eight months

Defendants guilty of being concerned with the supply of class A and B drugs

  • Brett Fletcher, 29, of Saundergate Lane East, Wyberton - 16 months
  • Darren Peters, 44, of Maize Farm, East Heckington - four years and two months

Defendant guilty of being concerned with the supply of class A drugs

  • Anslow Farrar, 51, of Station House, Spondon, Derby - four years

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