Ringleaders of a family-run drugs gang in Warrington jailed for almost 25 years

Substantial amounts of class A drugs and cash seized in Widnes

The two ringleaders of a family-run drugs gang who supplied large amounts of drugs in Warrington have been jailed.

The pair recruited their girlfriends and grandma to help run their criminal business.

Their activity came to the attention of detectives after purchasing large supplies of cocaine from another local drugs gang who were under police surveillance.

This led to Cheshire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) conducting a nine-month investigation – codenamed Operation Iconic.

The operation found the gang were selling cocaine with a high purity of 68 per cent and MDMA to customers across the town.

Half a kilo of cocaine with a potential street value of almost £150,000 and £7,000 of MDMA were seized in Warrington.

On Thursday 28 May five men were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to all charges. The four women were given suspended sentences.

The main ringleader was 25-year-old Lewis Turner – the nephew of Anthony Cullen.

He was ordered to take over the running of the gang’s supply of cocaine when the previous members – Wesley Williamson, Uktu Tig and Robert Musson – were sent to prison.

Turner would live a leisurely lifestyle as his organised crime gang turned over £1,000 a week.

He would entice customers by telling them the cocaine he supplied was cheap, the best and referred to himself as the big boss baby.

His 21-year-old girlfriend Samantha Gerrard was in charge of the drugs debt list.

She also calculated and handled the money generated from the criminal enterprise.

On at least one occasion she supplied drugs to a customer on behalf of turner from his flat at Sedgewick Court on Central Way.

Turner meanwhile would spend his day collecting money from those who had purchased large drug supplies.

He did this with a serious level of violence in order to set his authority at the top of the chain and show others he wouldn’t be messed with.

On one occasion Turner was with Gerrard in his car when he assaulted a man for not paying him the drugs he had supplied.

His aggression was also aimed at the local community when on 10 October 2018 he instigated a road rage altercation with an innocent member of the public.

To keep the drug distribution and money flowing Turner recruited his close friend and previous customer Antony Morgan to be his right hand man.

Morgan widened the organised crime group to include his 58-year-old Nan, Julie Morgan, his 21-year-old girlfriend Maria Beeby and her older sister Katie Newton.

Julie Morgan prepared, stored and supplied drugs on behalf of her grandson at her home on Windermere Avenue.

The £150,000 of cocaine was recovered by police from her address and another address linked to Beeby and Newton on Armour Avenue.

Numerous text messages would be exchanged from Morgan to his Nan discussing the conspiracy.

He would ask how many drugs were left at her house and instruct she bring the drugs to him.

She would do this while on her way to work or after she had taken the children to school.

Beeby and Newton were caught delivering cocaine, wrapped in a shopping bag with snap bags and gloves, to a house on Armour Avenue. This is part of the drugs seized with a potential street value of £150,000 seized by officers.

Gang member, Paul Ratcliffe allowed his home to be used as a safe house.

A safe bought by Turner in Warrington town centre was taken to Ratcliffe’s home on Bewsey Park Close to store drugs including almost £7,000 of MDMA, cash and paraphernalia.

Turner had control of the key to the safe which was found by detectives in his car.
When Turner and Anthony Morgan needed cocaine to be delivered to customers they enlisted Anthony Bond.

He was trusted to drive the drugs and cash under the ringleader’s instruction.

Cannabis worth almost £8,000 was stored at his home in Widnes and seized by detectives upon his arrest.

He would regularly take trips between Densham Avenue and Sedgewick Court for the purpose of delivering drugs.

Kayvon Allen stored and packaged drugs for the organised crime group.

He was previously one of Turner’s customers and is believed to have owed him almost £2,000 after buying MDMA.

On 10 July 2019 nine homes were raided by police and arrests were made to disrupt the gang.

Detective Chief Inspector Giles Pierce, from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said:

“Turner taking over as the ringleader gave him a huge ego, he was arrogant and often displayed acts of serious violence in order to mark his authority.

“He was motivated by the money he was generating from the supply of drugs and would be constantly splashing cash.

“The gang itself was very close-knit. It recruited close family and friends who were relied upon, but fully complicit in the conspiracy, to ensure the gang made a profit.

“Often when one organised crime gang is put in prison there is an attempt to fulfil the void, however sooner or later, they come to our attention.

“Here we are once again seeing a gang disrupted in Warrington and put behind bars. Another warning that Warrington isn’t the place to commit organised crime.”

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