Two-year drug sting ends with prison sentences for Weston cocaine dealers
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 March 2018
Avon and Somerset Constabulary
A Weston-super-Mare drugs gang have been sentenced for attempting to flood the town with thousands of pounds worth of cocaine.
The criminal quintet of Lee Loveridge, Shane Mulgrue, Jason Sheppard, Collette Lucas and Grant McKechnie all received custodial sentences, three of which were suspended, for conspiring to supply class A drugs. Dominic Palmer, the sixth defendant in the case, has yet to be sentenced.
The punishments follow a two-year operation by neighbourhood police who uncovered the ‘ambitious plan’.
Officers first searched a house in Hosegood Drive, in Weston, on February 4, 2016 where McKechnie, aged 43 of the same address, was inside.
The search unveiled a cocaine press, more than a kilo of cutting agents, cocaine as well as scales, tubs, blenders and moulds which were contaminated with cocaine and cutting agents.
A search of McKechnie’s own home revealed a drug supply-related list and moulds.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary officers then searched one of the houses in Cranmore, on the Oldmixon, where it was found the property was being used for drug production under the supervision of Mulgrue, of Abbeville Close in Exeter.
Fifty-year-old Lucas’ home in Dunster Crescent was searched where a safe, scales and bags with cutting agents and cocaine were discovered.
Suppliers Loveridge, of Oakwood Avenue, and Sheppard, of Windermere Avenue, were also implicated in the group after a mobile phone investigation.
Inspector Dave Deakin said this week: “This was a complex investigation which has resulted in a group of drug producers and suppliers being taken off the streets.
“Their operation was well-organised and involved mixing cutting agents with pure cocaine, which they claimed was a higher grade, enabling them to maximise the money they could charge.”
Loveridge, aged 45, was handed a five-year jail sentence and 24-year-old Mulgrue was handed a four-and-a-half-year sentence at Bristol Crown Court on February 16.
Sheppard, aged 45, and Lucas were both given a two-year sentence which was suspended for two years while McKechnie was handed a 12-month sentence suspended for two years.