A high-level drug dealer from Wigan who flooded the East Midlands with cocaine is starting a 12-and-a-half year prison term.
Richard Gray headed a gang controlling the “wholesale” distribution of hard drugs in Northamptonshire, according to detectives.
But the net closed on the 49-year-old, of Holcroft Drive, Abram, after a lower-level dealer in his network, Asa Beasley, was caught by police with a kilo of high-purity cocaine which had been imported from abroad.
Police established that, before his arrest in August 2016, Beasley had visited Gray and one of his lieutenants, Clive Andrews.
Further investigations showed there had been at least 14 occasions when Beasley had handed over similar consignments of cocaine.
Detectives later raided Andrews’s home and found a large amount of cash, along with more than one-and-a-half kilos of cocaine, including cutting agents and other devices used to process and distribute cocaine.
These included mixing equipment and a hydraulic press, with the property identified as the site where the cocaine was adulterated and repackaged for sale.
Beasley and Andrews, along with Barry Moylan, acted as go-betweens for Richard Gray and his brother Raymond, and Andrew Morales, who were all higher up the chain.
Moylan was found to have transferred £55,000 to Richard Gray and £11,150 to his brother, as onward payments from Morales.
Gray, along with Moylan, Beasley, Morales and Andrews, each admitted to conspiracy to supply class A drugs. His brother, 45, of Lysander Drive, Warrington, was convicted after a trial.
Morales, 36, Moylan, 46 and Beasley, all of Northampton, were jailed for 10 years and six months, eight years and nine months and six years respectively, Raymond Gray was jailed for seven years and six months and Andrews, 57, from Derbyshire, was imprisoned for seven years.
Passing sentence at Northampton Crown Court, Judge Michael Fowler said the gang had ran a substantial operation, profiting from those addicted to drugs.
“It was profit made from the addictions others suffer and it creates more addiction,” added Judge Fowler.
Speaking after the case, Emily Sharpe, an investigator with EMSOU (East Midlands Special Operations Unit), said: “We’re very pleased indeed with the sentences handed down by the judge.
“These men were part of a serious and organised crime group who were in action for a lengthy period of time.
“Their organisation was well planned and professional and we are pleased that such a thorough investigation has put an end to their long term criminal activity and disrupted a drugs supply chain that, ultimately, cause so much misery to so many people.”