Salford heroin smuggling gang jailed

Mulligan Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption David Mulligan and Steven Hindley were jailed for conspiracy to to import and supply Class A drugs

A drugs gang which tried to smuggle £63m of heroin into the UK in tables has been jailed.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the 460lb (210kg) haul in Salford last August was its largest ever seizure.

"Kingpin" Fikiri Yarasir, 53, known as "Mario" due to his resemblance to the videogame character, was jailed for 25 years.

Six others were jailed for their part in the conspiracy. The final two members were sentenced on Monday.

Undercover police officers discovered the haul at an industrial unit in Cobden Street.

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Fitri Yarasir, Brian Kennedy, Ahmet Taskin, Kathryn Fearon and Paul Livesey were sentenced in April

Police said they watched a number of interactions between the group including "a cash deal" between Steven Hindley and David Mulligan.

Yarasir - branded the kingpin by GMP - was seen meeting an articulated lorry with a Turkish registration plate and leading it to the industrial unit just hours before the police raid.

Yarasir was met by Ahmet Taskin and together they moved the cargo of furniture into the unit.

Police searched the unit and found 42 tables. When they were broken apart 500g bags of heroin were discovered inside.

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Police found heroin stashed inside tables

On the same day police entered a lockup in Rhyl rented by Hindley.

Officers found equipment set up for a "bash house" where drugs can be diluted with other substances to increase value.

Police said enquiries also revealed Mulligan and Yarasir met Hindley there just one week before and that "logistics" man, Brian Kennedy, had been drafted in to help the group import the drugs through his company, Freight Forward Ltd.

Kathryn Fearon and her partner Paul Livesey were used as mules to transport money to Turkey on several occasions, police said.

During a seven-week trial, it was revealed Yarasir had been convicted in Germany in 1997 for importing heroin from Turkey and had served 10 years.

Image copyright GMP
Image caption The full heroin haul

Detective Inspector Lee Griffin said: "The lengths this group went to to try and conceal the drugs, cover their tracks and evade police capture, would have been impressive had they not failed at simple hurdles like leaving fingerprints and traceable bank transfers."

The gang members were found guilty of conspiracy to import and supply Class A drugs. Taskin admitted the charges.

  • Yarasir, of High Street East, Glossop, was jailed 25 years
  • Kennedy, 37, of Gallacher Avenue, Levenmouth, Fife, was jailed for 18 years
  • Livesey 46, of Abbey Hey lane, Openshaw, was jailed for 15 years
  • Fearon, 34, of Abbey Hey lane, Openshaw, was jailed for nine years
  • Taskin, 45, of Middleton Road, Wood Green, London, was jailed for 13 years and six months

They were all jailed in April but Mulligan, 26, of Hengist Street, Manchester, and Hindley, 28, of Maesgwyn, Kinmel Bay, Rhyl, were sentenced on Monday at Manchester Crown Court.

They were jailed for 17 and 15 years respectively.