A Hartlepool drug kingpin is set to spend almost two decades behind bars for his part in a multimillion-pound conspiracy to flood the streets with cocaine and heroin.
Shaun Morfitt, 37, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply the Class A drugs following a trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) carried out the investigation and prosecution of Morfitt, with help from officers with Cleveland Police.
He and three others were sentenced as part of Operation Petral, a crackdown on the supply of class A drugs and organised crime in Cleveland, Manchester and Preston, Lancashire, between March and October 2015.
In September 2015 a vehicle was stopped travelling from Manchester to Cleveland with a hidden compartment containing two kilos of cocaine.
On the same day a warrant was executed at an address in Northenden, Manchester, where six kilos of cocaine and approximately three kilos of heroin were seized.
In October 2015 a search was conducted at an address in Droylsden, Manchester, where a kilo of cocaine was recovered inside the property.
A further kilo of cocaine was recovered later in the day from a vehicle in the Droylsden area.
Further enquiries revealed the group had been involved in the distribution of £4.5million of class A drugs.
During the course of the police investigation, officers recovered 14Kg of Class A drugs with a street value of £4,230,165.00.
Shaun Morfitt was the head of the organised crime gang based in the North East.
He was responsible for recruiting gang members, directing the gang’s activities and buying and selling Class A drugs on a commercial scale, which was in excess of 22kg.
Morfitt, whose address was given in court as Spearman Walk, in Hartlepool, had pleaded not guilty to the offence.
But he was found guilty and jailed for a total of 18 years.
Also jailed were Colin McCaffrey, 31, of Bank Street, Golborne, Wigan, who was sentenced to 22 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, Dean McCaffrey, 30, of Brede Walk, Sale, Greater Manchester, who was sentenced to 22 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and Raymond Gilham, 31, of Longley Lane, Northenden, Manchester, who was sentenced to eight years and eight months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Detective Inspector Rob Cousen, of GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Group, said: “Drugs cause widespread damage in the community and they will not be tolerated.
“This is a fantastic result and I hope it sends the message that we relentlessly pursue and dismantle organised groups that seek to profit from flooding the streets with these substances.
“I want to pay tribute to the operational teams and the members of the public who played a vital role in finding and convicting these men.”
Morfitt was previously jailed for viciously attacking former Hartlepool amateur boxer Anthony Rowbotham in the street after the two agreed to meet to settle a dispute.
Teesside Crown Court heard during the May 2010 attack Morfitt embedded the machete in the victim’s left shoulder as far as the bone and yelled “I’m going to kill you”.
Morfitt then hit Rowbotham up to six times with the machete.
Mr Rowbotham managed to break away and ran to a nearby shop for refuge while being chased by the gang.
Morfitt was jailed for six years and three months.