SEVEN people involved in the organised supply of heroin and crack cocaine that fuelled gang-related machete attacks on the streets of West Yorkshire have been jailed for a total of 42 years.
The violence linked to rival urban street gangs involved in the ‘ring and bring’ drugs trade saw horrific injuries being caused to young teenage boys in spates of incidents across the city.
In May and March last year, specialist detectives from Leeds District Programme Precision Team, which targets serious and organised crime, mounted two arrest phases that were the culmination of a year-long investigation, supported by officers from multiple agencies.
More than 50 people were arrested and more than half a million pounds worth of Class A drugs were recovered, along with £20,000 in cash and multiple machetes, swords and combat knives.
The operation was launched to proactively target rival street gangs involved in the supply of Class A drugs linked to violent crime.
It followed a similar initiative in June 2021 which saw 22 arrests as part of efforts to target a group linked to 70 knife attacks over the preceding 12 months.
The majority of those arrested during the most recent operation were charged with offences, predominantly related to the supply of Class A drugs.
Among them was Marcus Thomas, from Gipton, who was identified as the ringleader of a group involved in dealing heroin and crack cocaine.
Detectives used a range of tactics to build up a clear evidential picture of Thomas’s involvement in the illicit trade along with his links to his ‘lieutenants’.
Thomas was charged in relation to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between May 1 and October 1, 2020, along with John Burgon, Michael Sharlotte, and Thomas's sister Amie.
Marcus Thomas and Burgon were also charged along with five others with two counts of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine between November 25, 2021, and April 25, 2022.
When officers executed a search warrant at co-conspirator Francis Harvey’s address in Torre Hill, Burmantofts, they found 5kg of heroin with an estimated street value of £500,000.
Those involved in the conspiracies were also charged with various other individual supply or possession with intent to supply offences.
They were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.
Marcus Thomas, 29, of Brander Grove, Gipton, was jailed for 11 years and six months; John Burgon, 40, of Oak Tree Drive, Gipton, was sentenced to seven years and four months; Francis Harvey, 47, of Torre Hill, Burmantofts, was given a six-year prison term; Steven Moss, 42, of St James Street, Heckmondwike, was given five years and four months custody; Mackenzie Boylan, 27, of Hansby Place, Seacroft, was sentenced to four years and four months; Charlie Lock, 24, of Hansby Place, Seacroft, was also given four years and four months; Michael Sharlotte, 27, of Amberton Grove, Gipton, was jailed for three years and four months.
Sean Taylor, 20, of Rathmell Road, Leeds, and Amie Thomas, 29, of Lincoln Road, Burmantofts, were both given suspended sentences.
Detective Inspector Michael Herbert, who heads Leeds District Programme Precision Team, said: “These individuals were profiting from the human misery associated with heroin and crack cocaine, not just in terms of the negative effects on the lives of individual users and their families, but in the extreme violence that surrounds street-level dealing by organised rival gangs.
“We have seen all too regularly the gruesome injuries that have been caused to young teenage males by machetes and other weapons in incidents that are intrinsically linked to the supply of Class A drugs.
“We hope the significant sentences they have received will serve as a stark reminder of the serious penalties that those involved in the supply of drugs can expect.”
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