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Police smash cocaine gang operating between Preston and Liverpool

Posted on - 28th July, 2023 - 3:44pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Lancashire Police, Preston News
Top row from left: Christopher Ormandy, Lee Ormandy, Daniel Eastham and Steven Smith Bottom row from left: Amin Patel, Saqub Hussain, George Heary and James Heary

A drugs gang who ferried cocaine from Liverpool to Preston are set to be jailed.

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Eight men are due to be sentenced after police busted the cocaine gang who were moving blocks of the drug – each valued at several thousand pounds – between the two cities.

The gang, who are due to be sentenced on November 23 and 24, were snared after one of their vehicles was stopped at a petrol station in New Hall Lane and police found more than £20,000 worth of cocaine.

Read more: Cannabis farm in Holme Slack raided by police

How the gang were tracked in Operation Highgate

Brothers Lee and Christopher Ormandy were the wholesale dealers in Liverpool, arranging for the drugs to be delivered.

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Steven Smith was their trusted driver, taking the cocaine from Merseyside to Preston.

They had three sets of wholesale customers in Preston who were retail drug suppliers.

The first set of customers were Saqub Hussain and Amin Patel – Patel was a drug runner for Hussain.

Another customer was Daniel Eastham, the investigation showing that the Ormandy brothers and Smith made in the region of 25 trips from Merseyside to visit him.

Police found a taser in Steven Smith’s possession

The third set were brothers George and James Heary, with 23 trips made by the Ormandy brothers and Smith to them in the Preston area.

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These three sets of customers were independent of one another but were the people who bought the cocaine in large blocks, broke them down, diluted them and sold it on in much smaller retail amounts.

Cocaine seized at Daniel Eastham’s address

Lancashire Police tracked the offenders over a 10-month period in 2020 during Operation Highgate.

On October 25, 2020, having established the pattern of what the offenders were doing, officers stopped Smith’s Ford C-Max car at a petrol station on New Hall Lane, Preston.

That day there had been a flurry of contact between the Ormandy brothers and Eastham, and between the Ormandys and Smith.

When Smith’s car was searched, a 0.5kg block of pressed cocaine – valued at between £13,400 and £19,500, but worth up to £22,000 if bulked out to a typical purity at street level – was found in a bin liner packed into a cat food box under the front passenger seat.

Cocaine was found within the car after the petrol station stop

That block of cocaine was destined for Eastham’s house and was a typical delivery in this network.

After the discovery of drugs in Smith’s car, warrants were carried out at the homes of the other suspects and they were arrested.

Police found wads of cash stashed in the gang’s addresses

Read more: Preston drugs gang sentenced to total of 70 years in prison

Who was in the gang?

Lee Ormandy, 50, of Ashbury Road, Huyton, Liverpool, Christopher Ormandy, 40, of Ashbury Road, Huyton, Liverpool, Daniel Eastham, 32, of Downing Street, Preston, Saqub Hussain, 43, of St Paul’s Road, Preston, Amin Patel, 47, of Holmrock Road, Preston, and Steven Smith, 38, of Saxby Street, Liverpool, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.

George Heary, 26, of Cloughfield Road, Penwortham, and James Heary, 32, of Norris Street, Preston, denied conspiracy to supply cocaine and were found guilty by a jury after a trial at Preston Crown Court last week.

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What police had to say

Det Sgt Richard Clancy of Preston Police, said: “This was an extensive investigation into the importation of Class A drugs into Lancashire from Merseyside.

“The drugs were sourced by Lee and Christopher Ormandy, then transported from Huyton, Liverpool, into Preston using Steven Smith as a courier.

“Daniel Eastham, Saqub Hussain, Amin Patel, George Heary and James Heary would then distribute cocaine within Preston.

“Our investigation led to the dismantling of an organised supply of Class A drugs.

“Drug dealing and drug taking brings misery and a range of issues to communities and we are determined to bring those involved in the supply of drugs to justice.”

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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