A RAFT of drug dealers have been put behind bars after an undercover police operation in Flintshire. Caernarfon Crown Court was the venue for sentence in respect of numerous defendants caught by Operation Blue Magnitude on Thursday.
The court heard from prosecuting barristers Sion Ap Mihangel and Nicola Williams that the test purchasing initiative – which ran from the later months of 2021 through to the first half of this year – saw an undercover officer, named “Jimmy,” making contact with a county lines operation supplying class A substances into Flintshire, then receiving the drugs from street dealers. Charlotte Holly Johnston, aged 37 and of
Riverside Park in Garden City, had previously been convicted of
supplying class A drugs. On two occasions, Jimmy was directed to Garden City to collect drugs after making a request for them by phone.
Both times, Johnston was the contact who met him and exchanged crack cocaine and heroin for cash. Howard Jones, defending Johnston, said her criminal record was “indicative or someone who in her younger years had issues with
alcohol,” and later in life with drugs.He added pressure had been put on his client to get involved in
dealing the drugs and that she’d acted under the direction of others.Judge Timothy Petts jailed her for two years and two months.
Next up was 30-year-old Liam Wignall, of Nequay Close in Brookvale, Runcorn.
He had been convicted of five counts of supplying class A substances, two of possessing class A, and one of possessing class B
Jimmy was sent to Deeside after making a call for heroin, and was directed to walk down a footpath where he found other people waiting.
Two other people then arrived, one of whom was the defendant – who proceeded to sell him heroin. Jimmy placed several more calls in the following days, being sent to Connah’s Quay to collect drugs from Wignall.
On December 21, he tried to run after catching the attention of patrolling officers at Deeside – and was found to have class A drugs, as well as a cannabis joint.
Paul Wood, defending, told the court his client had been using drugs since the age of 12 and was under pressure to clear a debt. The dad-of-one was a forklift truck driver prior to the covid-19 pandemic, he added. Judge Petts jailed him for three years and eight months. Chad James William Stagg, aged 26 and of Chester Road West in Queensferry, appeared for sentence next.
He had been convicted at a previous hearing of supplying class A drugs. The court heard he acted as a “go between,” having attended to collect drugs alongside Jimmy, but taking the ‘orders’ of the undercover officer and other ‘customers’, then going to collect the substances for the group. He earned an extra amount of drugs as a reward for his labours. Mr Andrew Jebb, defending Stagg, said his client had not been there to deal drugs.
He was not connected with the county line but was involved in the “pooling of resources” to reduce the number of people going in and out of the location to buy substances. He was jailed for 22 months.
Dean Guy Ashfield, 32, of Central Drive in Shotton, appeared for sentence in respect of seven matters.
On December 7, Jimmy made enquiries about where he could buy drugs and was given a number.
When called, the person on the other end directed him to a footpath alongside a primary school during school hours.
Ashfield arrived on a bike and produced the drugs for sale.
That transaction occurred numerous times between December and April, and when he was arrested he had cocaine and heroin in his possession. Robin Boag, defending, said Ashfield was addicted to the substances he was dealing and had become involved in the criminality due to a debt. He was jailed for three years and one month.
James Hill, aged 22 and of Partington Avenue in Bootle, had previously been convicted of supplying Class A drugs and possessing cannabis.
Jimmy ended up meeting him more than once after placing a call with the county line and being directed to the rear of a waterworks.
When Hill’s home was raided by police, drugs and money were recovered.
Oliver King, defending, said: “He asks me to submit that his remorse is genuine – in custody he is going to do everything he can. “He is determined to make the most of his time.” Judge Petts jailed him for three years and three months.