Manchester

Drugs gang jailed as police seize cocaine, heroin and MDMA worth £2.7m

Clockwise form left: Gary O’Regan, Sam O’Neill, Paul Higginson, Darren Gill, Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick Warde Image copyright GMP
Image caption Clockwise form left: Gary O'Regan, Sam O'Neill, Paul Higginson, Darren Gill, Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick Warde

Six members of a drugs gang have been jailed after police seized cocaine, heroin and MDMA worth more than £2.7m.

Ringleader Gary O'Regan ran the network, distributing guns and drugs from southern Spain and Salford.

His group even flew a Hungarian chemist to Manchester and spent £3,000 on lab equipment to manufacture amphetamine, Manchester Crown Court heard.

When one of the gang, Sam O'Neill, was arrested, 30kg of high purity cocaine was found in shoe boxes in his car.

They were caught after a three-month surveillance operation by Greater Manchester Police that was put in place when ringleader O'Regan returned to the UK from Spain in January 2018.

Police said he began orchestrating an operation in which his accomplices Paul Higginson and Sam O'Neill ferried packages of drugs to Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Kettering, as well as the West Midlands and Wales.

O'Regan was arrested on the M62 in February 2018 with a gun and ammunition in his BMW X5.

The rest of the gang were arrested in a series of raids. Some 35kg of drugs were found in cars and properties linked to Sam O'Neill.

In one storage unit police found equipment and chemicals capable of producing 300kg of amphetamine.

Image copyright GMP
  • O'Regan, 34, of Derby Road, Salford, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition and conspiracy to produce amphetamine. He was jailed for 24 years.
  • Higginson, 40, of Metcalf Close, Kirkby, Merseyside, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine after pleading guilty to conspiracy to produce amphetamine. He was jailed for 21 years.
  • Patrick Warde, 52, of Carruthers Close, Heywood, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to produce amphetamine and was jailed for 21 years.
  • Sam O'Neill, 35, of Hattersley Road West, Hattersley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin, conspiracy to produce amphetamine and possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was jailed for 19 years.
  • Jennifer O'Neill, 31, also of Hattersley Road West, Hattersley was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and was been jailed for four years.
  • Darren Gill, 27, of Anderton Crescent, Chorley, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and was jailed for nine years.

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