MEMBERS of a drugs gang who imported cocaine into the UK from Spain via safehouses in Warrington have been jailed for more than 30 years.

Wesley Williamson, Robert Musson, John Large and Utku Tig were locked up at Liverpool Crown Court today, Friday.

The quartet were arrested in connection with raids on homes in Orford and Padgate last year where the ‘large scale cocaine business’ operated from.

A search warrant was executed at a property on 39-year-old Paul Jones’ flat on Biggin Court in July 2018, where two 1kg packages of drugs were found inside.

READ > Two Warrington people arrested over deaths of 39 Chinese nationals in lorry  

One of the packages had been imported from Spain and contained cocaine of a 94 per cent purity, while the other had been cut with other substances to reduce the purity to 73 per cent.

This second stash had been repacked to make it appear as if it was an imported package of drugs of a higher quality in order to con the buyer.

Williamson’s home on Grasmere Avenue was then raided by police in August the following month.

A total of 1kg of cocaine was found in a JD Sports bag, having been packaged into smaller drug deals.

Warrington Guardian:

Cocaine seized from Williamson's home on Grasmere Avenue

Officers also found an encrypted phone belong to the 32-year-old which had been used to contact the head of the operation on the continent, who arranged the importation of drugs into the country and was known only as ‘Donna’.

Police estimated that up to 20kg of cocaine had been handled and supplied by the four defendants, who admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine during an earlier court hearing.

Williamson is currently serving a separate sentence of four years and three months in prison, handed down in summer 2018 after he admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply in relation to the drugs found in his home.

Today, he was handed an additional spell of six-and-a-half years behind bars.

Warrington Guardian:

Wesley Williamson

Musson, who took a ‘managerial role’ in the enterprise, was previously convicted of possession of cannabis with intent to supply back in 2011.

The 34-year-old, of Bernard Avenue in Appleton, was jailed for nine years by judge Brian Cummings.

Warrington Guardian:

Robert Musson

Thirty-two-year-old Large, of Fairbrother Crescent in Orford, was imprisoned for eight years and eight months.

Warrington Guardian:

John Large

And Utku Tig, from Runcorn, was caged for six years and nine months.

The court heard that the 32-year-old had couriered kilo packages of cocaine from Liverpool to Warrington on at least four occasions.

Warrington Guardian:

Utku Tig

Sentencing, judge Cummings said: “This was a business that was involved in importing kilo amounts of high purity cocaine, and then bulking out these drugs and repackaging them as being of import quality before selling them on for profit.

“Class A drug trafficking is responsible for much of the acquisitive and violent crimes brought before the courts.

“There are young children whose fathers are facing substantial prison sentences.

“You are all mature adults who know that there would be terrible consequences for others if you caught – you went ahead anyway.”

Jones also admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and was jailed for four years during an earlier hearing.

Detective chief inspector Mike Evans, of Cheshire Police’s serious and organised crime unit, said: “These men were well-known in Warrington, predominantly for their involvement in the wholesale supply of cocaine.

“They each played a pivotal role in controlling the drug market and reaped the rewards by gaining substantial profits.

“The cocaine business can appear lucrative, however the downfall is far greater.

“We are determined to relentlessly pursue and disrupt those who think there is a place for organised crime in Cheshire.”

Williamson and Musson were previously cleared over a plot which saw a grenade planted on an Orford street in a feud between rival gangs.

Warrington Guardian:

The grenade planted on Cleveland Avenue

The explosive was placed under a car on the drive of a family home on Cleveland Avenue in Orford late one night in February last year, when four children were sleeping upstairs in the property.

This followed a series of tit-for-tat attacks, which also saw wanted man Leon Cullen’s BMW torched outside his home on Honister Avenue in Orford and Smithy’s Gym in Bewsey targeted in an arson attack.

Bomb disposal squads rushed to the scene and carried out a controlled explosion on nearby wasteland, with all properties within 50m evacuated and residents taken to McDonald’s on Winwick Road for shelter.

Warrington Guardian:

The prosecution claimed that Musson had made a 999 call alerting the emergency services to the grenade, while Williamson was allegedly linked to the incident by mobile phone contact.

But the pair were unanimously acquitted of conspiracy to possess explosive by a jury in April.

Co-defendant Kyle Stewart, of Greenwood Crescent in Orford, walked free from court after the 32-year-old after he was also found not guilty.

However, convicted murderer Billy Jones was convicted of the same charge after his DNA was found on the pin of the grenade.

Warrington Guardian:

Billy Jones

The 29-year-old, of Forster Street in Orford, was later jailed for life with a minimum term of six years – having been apparently acting on behalf of Cullen.

This was his second life imprisonment, having been handed 10-and-a-half years behind bars in 2006 for the murder of Michael Theaker.

Warrington Guardian:

Jones aged 13

Aged 16, he become one of Warrington’s youngster killers when he punched and kicked the dad-to-be to death in a gang attack alongside brothers Colin and David Algie – the trio having picked an argument with their 22-year-old victim on the number 21 bus.

Williamson, Musson, Large and Tig could be ordered to hand over their ill-gotten gains during a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing – due to take place back at Liverpool Crown Court next year.