TWO ringleaders of a family-run drugs gang who recruited their girlfriends and grandma to help them supply large amounts of cocaine and MDMA in Warrington have been jailed.
Lewis Turner and Anthony Morgan recruited their girlfriends and Morgan’s grandma to help run their criminal business.
Their activity came to the attention of detectives after they bought 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 gang leader Anthony Cullen, who earlier this year was ordered to repay the ill-gotten gains he made through supplying cocaine and firearms, after making a profit of £378,139 as the head of the serious and organised crime group in the town. The 32-year-old is currently serving a 27-year prison sentence after being convicted of running a crime group which instilled fear and intimidation into the community, while conspiring to profit from large scale supplies of cocaine and firearms. Cullen and 19 other men were jailed for a total of 185 years in January last year.
Turner 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 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.”
•Leading role – Lewis Turner, 25, of Howson Road in Warrington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and MDMA. He was sentenced to six years and nine months.
•Leading role – Antony Morgan, 26, of Densham Avenue in Orford pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was sentenced to six years and two months.
•Significant role – Anthony Bond, 39, of Lower House Lane in Widnes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession with intent to supply cannabis. He was sentenced to four years and one month.
•Significant role – Kayvon Allen, 27, of Eddisford Drive in Culcheth and Glazebury, Warrington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and MDMA. He will be sentenced to four years and six months.
•Significant role – Paul Ratcliffe, 37, of Small Avenue in Orford, Warrington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply MDMA. He was sentenced to three years.
•Lesser role – Samantha Gerrard, 21, of Chery Sutton in Widnes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. She was given a two-year imprisonment suspended for two years, 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 120 hours of unpaid work.
•Lesser role – Julie Morgan, 58, of Windermere Avenue in Warrington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. She received a two-year imprisonment, suspended for two years, 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 120 hours of unpaid work.
•Lesser role – Katie Newton, 32, of Poole Avenue in Orford, Warrington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. She was given a 22-month imprisonment suspended for two years, a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement, 80 hours of unpaid work and a victim surcharge.
•Lesser role – Maria Beeby, 21, of Densham Avenue in Orford, Warrington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. She was given a 21-month imprisonment suspended for two years, a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement, 80 hours of unpaid work and a victim surcharge.
•Lesser role – Lewis Bennett, 29, of Rylands Street in Warrington was given a community order with unpaid work for possession of ecstasy.
An organised crime gang who sold cocaine and MDMA in Warrington have been jailed for almost 25 years.
Lewis Turner and Antony Morgan recruited their girlfriends and grandma to run their criminal business.
— Warrington Police (@PoliceWarr) May 28, 2020