Jailed - drugs gang bought cocaine in Luton

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A gang of criminals have been jailed for 147 years after they were caught trying to flood Britain’s streets with Class A drugs after buying cocaine from Luton.

The 20 were members of an organised crime gang who ran an intricate network of couriers and dealers across the UK.

Liam Stray, 37, Paul Bush, 38, and Stuart Bailey, 33, were in charge of 17 men and women who transported and sold drugs.

Detectives found regular arrangements for the purchase of 71 per cent purity cocaine from Luton and Manchester before being transported to Northampton.

East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) uncovered that the gangsters diluted down the drug with dangerous chemicals to push onto the streets.

EMSOU bust the UK scheme with help from Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Greater Manchester Police and recovered £85,000 in cash as well as 125g of heroin.

In total, 32 courier runs by the couriers run by Stray and Bush were linked to the Luton area, which would have supplied in excess of 9.5kg (21lbs) of high-purity cocaine with a street value of £4 million.

A further three drugs exchanges were identified between Bailey and a Manchester group with an estimated exchange of 1.5 kilos of cocaine.

Stray, of Earls Barton, Northants, was jailed for 12 years and eight months at Northampton Crown Court on Friday.

Bush, of Rushden, Northants., was caged for 12 years and Bailey, of Raunds, Northants., received ten years and eight months behind bars.

All the defendants, except Tony Bolton, 42, of Rushden and Brian Kingsnorth, 33, of Corby, Northants., admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Kingsnorth was found guilty and Bolton admitted a different charge or money laundering.

They were jailed with the 15 other defendants for a total of 112 years and three months.

Sentencing the gang, Judge Michael Fowler said: “Drugs kill people. They ruin lives, not just of those who take them, but the lives of their families.

“It’s plain some of you are just bad.”