West Midlands drugs gang jailed for more than 40 years

By Dayna Farrington | Birmingham | Crime | Published:

Members of a West Midlands drugs ring which supplied cocaine across the country have been collectively jailed for more than 40 years.

Russell Turner was head of a Birmingham-based drugs gang

The Birmingham-based gang, including ringleader Russell Turner, was rumbled after a covert operation by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit where large amounts of cash and drugs were seized between October 2018 and January 2019.

Turner went to great lengths to hide his criminal activities – with officers believing he swallowed a mobile phone SIM card to avoid his links being exposed.

On one occasion more than £60,000 of crack cocaine was found in a car glove box and hidden in a sports bag in the boot of a car driven by Reece Thornton and Declan Gilsenan.

The drugs were found when the car was tracked to a pick-up in Nottingham and stopped in Newcastle after Thornton and Declan had been seen meeting Turner in Stirchley, where he appeared to hand over a package.

Associates Reece Thornton and Declan Gilsenan

Subsequent enquiries found Turner had directed the pair to Scotland.

Joshua Houghton and Brandon Newman were also seen meeting Turner later that same month and were followed to a street in Walsall where drugs were believed to have been collected.

The pair were stopped in West Bromwich shortly afterwards and as officers approached the vehicle a package of 91 per cent pure cocaine was thrown from the window by Houghton, while Newman was found with keys to a stolen car.


On another occasion, Turner was seen meeting with Noel Chisholm in Kings Norton, before one of his associates, Reece Sheeran, handed over a parcel.

Associates Joshua Houghton and Brandon Newman

Chisholm left in his car and was pulled over by officers who seized cocaine worth around £300,000. A search of his home also found a cannabis factory.

Almost £35,000 of suspected drugs money was recovered from a van used by a known associate of Turner at a services on the M42 last year.


Turner had twice previously been arrested on suspicion of unrelated matters and on each occasion his phone had been broken and left with no SIM card inside.

The 25-year-old was established as the prime mover in the drugs ring and was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, as well as possession of conspiracy to acquire criminal property in relation to the cash found at the service station.

Jail sentences

They were all – bar 52-year-old Chisholm, from Selly Oak – sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on March 20.

Turner, 25, of Selcombe Way, in Kings Norton, was jailed for 10 years and six months.

Gilsenan, 28, of Walls Road, Bromsgrove, and Houghton, 22, of Mickleton Close, Redditch, were jailed for six and five years respectively.

Noel Chisholm and Reece Sheeran

A five year and six months jail term was handed to Newman, 23, of Paddock Lane, in Redditch, while Sheeran, 28, of Dogpool Lane, in Selly Oak, was jailed for eight years. Thornton, 26, of Barnard Close, in Rednal, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Chisholm will be sentenced in April.

Detective Chief Inspector Will Henley, of ROCU, said: “Turner was the ringleader of this drugs network which not only sought to operate in the West Midlands but further across the UK.

“We recovered a significant amount of cocaine which was destined to hit the streets and only cause further crime and misery within communities.

“Through the diligent work of officers and our covert operation we were able to trace those at the heart of drugs ring to ensure it was shut down."

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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