Two gangs and a dealer caught selling heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis during one of the biggest ever blitzes on drugs in the West Midlands are starting jail terms.
Police posed as buyers on the streets of Heath Town and Low Hill to buy dozens of wraps of heroin and crack cocaine during covert operations, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
Thousands of pounds in cash and drugs were also recovered during raids on properties in the city during Operation No Deal – a crackdown on criminal activity in Wolverhampton.
Officers initially met up with 38-year-old Michael Lewis to sell him protein supplements in Heath Town, but it spiralled into drug deals, the court was told.
Miss Jennifer Josephs, prosecuting, said the officers bought large amounts of drugs, claiming it was for a stag do on one occasion, and handed over hundreds of pounds.
She said Lewis had also introduced the officers to Shenrick Campbell and Gavin Williamson after claiming that he knew people who supplied crack cocaine. Miss Josephs said Campbell and
Williamson supplied the officers with heroin and crack cocaine on more than a dozen occasions between January and April last year.
At the first meeting, Williamson handed over £20 worth of crack cocaine at Hampton View flats, in Woden Road, Heath Town.
The court heard that Williamson arrived in an Audi to meet officers a number of times and on some occasions was seen with bags of wraps on his lap or smoking a ‘joint’.
Miss Josephs said Campbell met up with officers several times to supply heroin and crack cocaine and on one occasion during a meeting in an alleyway, officers estimated the bag he carried contained 30 wraps.
She said: “They were generally supplied within half an hour.” Phones were taken from the pair when they were arrested and 26.7 grams of cannabis was seized from Campbell, along with £95 in cash.
When Lewis’s home in Hobgate Road was searched, police found six cannabis plants.
The court heard that officers were introduced to another drug gang by a man, referred to as Bob, and when they called a particular phone number they would be supplied with drugs by
Patrick McNeil, Gavin Hyde or Gary Newton. Miss Josephs said the officers bought drugs from McNeil and Newton on several occasions in the Low Hill area last March. On one occasion when they phoned, McNeil answered but Hyde instead met officers and supplied two wraps of crack cocaine.
When police later raided McNeil’s home in First Avenue and Newton’s address in Fourth Avenue they seized 34.3 grams of heroin with a street value of £1,700 and more than £4,000 in cash from McNeil’s address. Miss Josephs said that based on the number of calls they received, police estimated their daily income from drug dealing would have amounted to about £370.
She said Hyde claimed he had been working as a decorator when he had been asked to deliver drugs.
McNeil, 22, and Newton, 38, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, while Hyde, 31, of Mills Close, Wednesfield, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine. Williamson, 28, of Burton Road, Heath Town, and Campbell, 21, of Field Street, Springfields, admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine, while
Campbell admitted an extra charge of possessing cannabis and Williamson to breaching a community order.
Lewis admitted being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine, producing cannabis, and supplying cocaine and cannabis.
In mitigation for McNeil, Mr Tom Walkling said he was dealing at the ‘lowest level of the chain’. He said: “He’s not the kind of figure that protects himself by letting others do the dealing.”
Mr Jon Roe, for Newton, said his motivation was to fund his own heroin addiction. Also representing Hyde, he said he had a lesser role and he had been frank about his involvement.
Representing Lewis, Mr Peter Cooke said he had bought the protein supplement from officers to make a profit by selling it on at a gym, but was trying to support a modest lifestyle and cannabis habit.
In mitigation for Williamson, the court heard it was a modest conspiracy involving two people and he was keen to improve his lifestyle. Mr Stephen Hamblett, for Campbell, said he was naive and had started hanging around with the ‘wrong’ people, developing an addiction to cannabis.
Judge Patrick Thomas QC ordered forfeiture and destruction of the money and drugs seized. McNeil and Newton were both jailed for four years, and Williamson was jailed for four years, with a one-month concurrent prison sentence for his breach.
Campbell was given a three-year, six-month prison sentence, with a one-month concurrent jail term for possessing cannabis. Lewis was jailed for three years and Hyde for 18 months.