Two Hartlepool men have been jailed for 13 years each for their role in a plan to bring high-grade cocaine into the North East.
David Gallagher, 55, of Wharton Terrace, and 43-year-old David Haggan, of Cranwell Road, Fens Estate, were convicted by a jury at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.
The pair were also made subject to Serious Crime Prevention Orders which will limit their access to mobile phones, computers and landlines for five years after release.
Two other men – 53-year-old Paul Lawton, of Dellfield Drive, Sunderland, and Michael Jackson, 62, of Kilmarnock Road, Hartlepool, were acquitted. All four had denied conspiracy to supply a Class A drug. Haggan was also convicted of possession of a Class B drug,
A courier from Liverpool met Haggan at the Teesbay Retail Park. They drove to a nearby shopping parade, where they met Gallagher.
When the three were arrested, an electrical transformer box, of the kind used in building sites, was found to contain traces of cocaine, and £44,950 in 45 bundles.
This is a scourge on society – there is no such thing as a recreational drug or a party drug.His Honour Judge Morris
Liverpool man Steven Adair has previously admitted his role in the conspiracy and has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Jailing the pair, His Honour Judge Sean Morris said they had been equal partners in the east coast end of the drugs pipeline from Merseyside.
“If you had to sit where I sit, day in and day out, and deal with the crime that is generated and fuelled by the supply of drugs, you would know why sentences have to be harsh,” he said.
“This is a scourge on society – there is no such thing as a recreational drug or a party drug.
“I am perfectly satisfied you two were a team. You were the leading lights in the eastern side of this conspiracy, with Mr Adair being the leading light in the western side.
“I see no reason to differentiate between the pair of you – it is quite obvious from what I have seen that you were both acting in tandem. You are both previously convicted drug dealers.
“You both had substantial routes to others in the chain and I assume there was an expectation of possible substantial financial gain.
“You will go to prison for 13 years – you will serve half that and the rest will be on licence. If you get involved in this trade again, then the sentence is going to get even higher.
“If you had had the guts to plead guilty, you would have been in for a lot less time inside.”
Cleveland Police Detective Sergeant John Fitzpatrick said: “This represents the end of a meticulous and protracted covert investigation by Cleveland Police Organised Crime Unit.
“This criminal network will undoubtedly have facilitated the distribution of Class A drugs across the streets of Teesside. The sentencing reflects the scale of the conspiracy.
“Cleveland Police Organised Crime Unit will continue to bring to justice those individuals who make a career from criminality.
“We are dedicated to protecting the vulnerable within our communities by diminishing the availability and associated harm caused by drug abuse.”