'Buy one, get two': Shropshire drugs gang five jailed for more than 30 years
Five people have been jailed for more than 30 years combined for their role in a organised County Lines drugs network in Shropshire that raked in hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Among the leading players Jake Burrows, 24, was jailed for nine-and-a-half years for helping to run a sophisticated mobile phone enterprise titled “Mo” that was used to sell heroin and cocaine wraps in a 'buy one, get two' deals to addicts in Shrewsbury and Whitchurch.
He along with Jake Dykstra, 21, Jack Ross, 21, Ryan Langshaw, 21, and Florence Marley, 58, of Shrewsbury, whom acted as the driver, were locked up on Tuesday for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between January and August 2016.
They had previously admitted the offence.
Police believe the gang made in excess of £500,000 from their activity.
Some of the gang had with links to Liverpool's Eastside Speke Group that was operating in the county from bases in Merseyside and North Wales.
Another leading player, James Humphries, 23, of Liverpool,who was behind the 'business' was jailed for eight years and three months in February this year for conspiracy.
Sentencing these five Judge Peter Barrie described the operation as "organised and systematic".
He said it was clear that January 2016 the County Lines structure was "well established and fully operational" along with a number of phones held by Humphries until he was arrested.
Judge Barrie said: "The prosecution case is that Jake Burrows mainly took over although other people were involved.
"The prosecution assertion is that Burrows was also involved in the preparation of the drugs and dealing on the street."
Mr Andrew Alty, mitigating for Burrows, said: "I have to accept that he was playing a leading role."
Dykstra, who was also sentenced for drugs offences in Herteford and Dorset, and for assisting an offender - relating to helping killer Declan Graves to escape following a stabbing in Shrewsbury, was jailed for a total of ten-and-a-half years.
Street dealers Langshaw and Ross, both from Shropshire but of no fixed abode were both jailed for five-and-a-half years.
Marley, of Springfield Way, Emstrey, Shrewsbury, who used her car to transport the defendants across the county and to carry cocaine and heroin from Liverpool to Shropshire was jailed for two-and-a-half years in total.
Burrows and Langshaw, who both failed to attend the two-day hearing held, in Wolverhampton, and were sentenced in their absence. Both were already on prison remand.
On release from prison Burrows will be subject to a Serious Crime Prevention Order for five years.
In February another defendant Paul Watton, 34, of Cordwell Park, Wem, was jailed for 18 months suspended for two years with conditions for being in concerned in the supply of drugs.
While West Mercia detectives were unravelling the operation Michael Warham, 16, of Liverpool, was fatally stabbed, in Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, during a confrontation between rival groups.
The network came to light during a police investigation into a ‘turf war’ between rival Merseyside drugs gangs in 2016.
The investigation was led by Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector, Gavin Kinrade, who said today: "This gang preyed on vulnerable members of our community addicted to illicit drugs.
"They showed no regard for these very vulnerable individuals or to the misery and devastation heroin and crack cocaine cause to individuals, their families or our community. They were motivated solely by greed.
"This was a complex and time consuming investigation and these offenders have been brought to justice by a professional and dedicated team of detectives who continue to fight organised crime in West Mercia. It should also act as a warning to other county lines gangs of what they can expect if they commit crime in West Mercia."
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