Thirteen members of Merseyside-led drugs gang jailed

image captionJohn Cooke, James Swarez, Brian Harrison and Paul McDonald were the gang leaders

Thirteen people involved in a multi-million pound drugs distribution gang have been jailed.

The gang trafficked millions of pounds worth of class A drugs from their Merseyside base to Cheshire, Lancashire, Scotland and south Wales.

The gang was led by John Cooke, 32, from Birkdale, James Swarez, 40, from Crosby, Paul McDonald, 44, from Huyton and Brian Harrison, 50, from Speke.

They received sentences of between six and 17 years at Liverpool Crown Court.

The gang was arrested in an eight-month long operation by Titan, the North West regional organised crime unit.

Ill-gotten gains

In total, officers seized 9.25kg of heroin, 8.25kg of cocaine, 12kg of amphetamine, 11,370 class C benzylpiperazine (BZP) tablets with an estimated wholesale value of £1m, and £37,000 cash.

Police said Cooke and Swarez lived a luxury lifestyle thanks to their ill-gotten gains.

The pair would receive high purity drugs from suppliers, one of whom was trafficker McDonald, and used a network of couriers to target drug addicts in Glasgow, Cardiff, Preston and Ellesmere Port.

Of those who admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs, Cooke, of Walmer Road and Swarez, of Queens Road, received 17 years.

McDonald, of Fernbank Road, was jailed for 15 years and Harrison, of Harefield Green, for six years and eight months.

image captionPolice seized 8.25kg of cocaine in the eight-month long operation

John Wildman, 40, of Alans Way, Kirkby, was jailed for nine years and four months; David Jolly, 44, of Enfield Close, Chorley, Lancashire, was jailed for 12 years and David Law, 53, of Sheldon Road, West Derby, for 10 years and eight months.

Edward McCreadie, 54, of Menteith Drive, Rutherglen, Glasgow, was jailed for 12 years and eight months; Jonathon Earley, 46, of Crompton Street, Kirkdale, was jailed for six years and Jonathon Cromwell, 36, of Stanway Place, Ely, Cardiff, was jailed for 12 years.

The remaining three gang members denied the same charge but were found guilty following a trial.

Roseanne McCreadie, 32, of Dukes Road, Glasgow, was jailed for nine years; James Beck, 47, of Ward Street, Lostock Hall, Preston, was jailed for 13 years and Gordon Smith, 49, of Menzies Drive, Glasgow, was jailed for 12 years.

Det Supt Jason Hudson from Titan said: "Today's sentences reflect the severity of the scourge of drugs on our streets.

"We launched a lengthy investigation into this organised crime unit and obtained evidence that ensured some major players in the drugs trade have been taken out of action for a considerable amount of time.

"While some of the gang were used as couriers, others such as Cooke, Swarez, McDonald and Harrison were at the top of the hierarchy of this group and their lifestyles show they have made huge amounts of money through their criminal activities."

He said the gang faced a considerable length of time behind bars and would be "stripped of their ill-gotten gains".

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