Jus­tice catches up with drug dealer gang mem­ber

Macclesfield Express - - THE SOMME 1916-2016 - STU­ART GREER

THE fi­nal mem­ber of a drugs gang which ped­dled heroin and co­caine on the streets of Mac­cles­field has been sen­tenced.

Ben­jamin Preece, of HMP Alt­course, was given a 16-month prison term sus­pended for two years.

He ad­mit­ted sell­ing two wraps of heroin to an un­der­cover po­lice of­fi­cer on Jo­drell Street, Mac­cles­field, on Jan­uary 27, last year.

Preece was a low-level mem­ber of a drugs gang led by ring leader Thomas Quadrio, who ran a ‘graft phone’ to com­mu­ni­cate with his deal­ers and drug users.

Quadrio used drugs courier Peter Jones to bring in the class A drugs from Liver­pool, be­fore it was given to deal­ers Preece and Dar­ren Cooper to sell to users.

Quadrio, 32, of Abbey Road, Mac­cles­field, ad­mit­ting con­spir­acy to sup­ply class A drugs and was jailed for five years.

Cooper, 40, of Caris­brook Avenue, Mac­cles­field, who was jailed for 40 months af­ter plead­ing guilty to four charges of sup­ply­ing class A drugs. Jones, 51, of Bread Street, Mac­cles­field, ad­mit­ted con­spir­acy to sup­ply drugs and was sen­tenced to 15 month in prison sus­pended for 12 months.

Preece, 34, is the last to be sen­tenced af­ter the first wave of ar­rests un­der Op­er­a­tion Alzira, a year­long un­der­cover op­er­a­tion by Cheshire Po­lice to com­bat the sup­ply of heroin and co­caine into Mac­cles­field from Liver­pool and Manch­ester.

Last Septem­ber, po­lice smashed a num­ber of drugs gangs in the town dur­ing early morn­ing raids at ad­dresses.

More than 100 po­lice of­fi­cers met at a se­cret lo­ca­tion in Mac­cles­field at 5.30am and had com­pleted the raids by 7.30am in what was de­scribed as one of the largest op­er­a­tions un­der­taken by the force.

De­tec­tive Sergeant Gavin Day, who led the op­er­a­tion, said: “This op­er­a­tion has struck at the heart of an or­gan­ised crime gang by re­mov­ing the hi­er­ar­chy who or­gan- ise the drug sup­ply and reap the ben­e­fits from the prof­its gen­er­ated.

“Il­le­gal drugs have no place in Cheshire and are a blight on the lives of lo­cal res­i­dents.

“We are com­mit­ted to do­ing every­thing we can to tackle the is­sue. The mes­sage is clear – we will not tol­er­ate this sort of be­hav­iour within the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Fol­low­ing the ar­rests and charges as part of the op­er­a­tion a void was left in the il­le­gal drugs mar­ket within the area.

“Of­fi­cers are con­tin­u­ing to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and will take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion against any fur­ther drug re­lated ac­tiv­ity that comes to light.

“The con­clu­sion of this case should serve as a warn­ing to any­one in­volved in this type of ac­tiv­ity that we are ac­tively tar­get­ing and suc­cess­fully pros­e­cut­ing those in­volved in the sup­ply and distri­bu­tion of il­le­gal drugs.

He added: “All the de­fen­dants had different lev­els of in­volve­ment

“In­for­ma­tion from the lo­cal com­mu­nity is vi­tal in the fight against drug re­late crime.

I would urge the lo­cal com­mu­nity to sup­port the ef­forts of lo­cal of­fi­cers and any­one with any in­for­ma­tion in re­la­tion to sus­pected drug re­lated ac­tiv­ity is urged to call Cheshire Po­lice.”

●● Ben­jamin Preece

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