SIX men from Merseyside have been sentenced to a total of 116 years for their part in an £8 million drugs operation which ran across the UK - including distributing cocaine to Wrexham.

The investigation, which was led by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, supported by Merseyside Police, discovered that between December 2018 and June 2019, more than 100 drugs runs were made across the UK by members of the Merseyside-based organised crime group (OCG).

It is estimated more than 200kg of cocaine with a street value in excess of £8 million pounds was sold during the seven-month period.

On June 25, 2019, gang leader James Kelly, was arrested by officers at his home address in St Helens.

Following a search of his property, officers found £20,000 cash by his front door and two encrypted phones Kelly used to communicate with his crime group, who were selling the drugs on his behalf.

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Money, a 'tick list' and weapons were recovered as part of the investigation

Temporary Detective Superintendent Ian Hussey said: “This crime group were distributing multi-kilos of cocaine, on a daily basis, across the UK to Bradford, Bolton, Newcastle, London, Nottingham, Scunthorpe, Sheffield and Wrexham.

"James Kelly ran the drugs operation from his home address in St Helens, using members of his OCG to transport and sell the drugs on his behalf. He also enlisted his brother’s help to launder the money they made from the selling the drugs.”

“This is an extremely dangerous set of individuals who have links to firearms, two of which were seized, along with ammunition, at an address in Old Swan, Liverpool, linked to Mark Dermott.”

“I hope the significant prison sentences these individuals have received will serve to reassure communities in Merseyside, of how seriously we take drug dealing, and the use of firearms, which have no place on our streets in the North West.”

“If anybody has any information about potential drug dealing or about the use of firearms, I urge you to please to contact police on 101 and tell us what you know. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers and report what you know anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Drugs recovered on Hart's arrest on the M6

Those jailed today (Wednesday, February 26) at Liverpool Crown Court were:

James Kelly, 36, Bleak Hill Road, St Helens, 28 years and six months for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs

Stephen Kelly, 42, Stalmine Road, Liverpool, 26 years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs

Paul Speedy, 57, Cumberland Close, Kirkdale, 13 years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs

Marc Dermott, 32, Conway Street, Kirkdale, a total of 26 years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs/possession of two Section 1 firearms and ammunition

Dean Woods, 37, Water Street, Liverpool, 15 years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs

Liam Hart, 36, Medbourne Court, Kirkby, seven years and six months for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs