£32m drugs baron’s step-by-step guide to staying ahead of the police didn’t work

A drug lord ran a £32 million operation to flood a region with heroin and cocaine from his inner-city flat.

Marcus Callaghan, 34, was convicted on Thursday of conspiracy to supply huge quantities of high-purity class A drugs after a month-long trial.

A court heard he ran his illegal operation like it was a legitimate business, employing a money man to launder piles of cash and using expensive corporate entertainment to thank his clientele for their custom.

But the racket was smashed thanks to detectives who spent weeks following his gang, Manchester Evening News reports.

And Callaghan and three other gang members were found guilty at Manchester Crown Court. They’ll be sentenced at a later date.

Callaghan, from Hulme, Tameside, ordered Rui Zhu, 39, from Birmingham, to take a bag containing £400,000 in drugs money south on the M56.

But the jury heard he was arrested at Knutsford services.

Following that, police seized heroin, cocaine and cannabis with a total street value of £32m.

Kaneil Henry, 25, was "one of Callaghan’s trusted lieutenants" while Jerome Hamilton, 33, was a worker.

They too were snagged after Greater Manchester Police raided two residential properties in February. Officers uncovered the heroin, cocaine, 40 kilos of cannabis, £200,000 in cash and debtors lists.

They also found an eight-point drug dealer’s "instruction manual", which stated "change car every three or four weeks", "change numbers every two weeks" and "spend £500 on phones and numbers" – all tactics to try and stay ahead of police.

The to-do list also said "clean both gaffs" – a reference to both apartments at Canal View – while it also urged the reader to "lock up", "chase dets" (sic) and "stay off grid".

Finally, it referred to a "France job" although the nature of this job was never established.

During another search two weeks later, police also found a 9mm Short Ingram Model 11 machine pistol, more commonly known as a MAC-11, 51 rounds of ammunition, as well as more drugs hidden behind kickboards in the kitchen.

The trial heard that a fifth man Theo Henry, who was not in the dock, had already pleaded guilty to his part in the conspiracy while others named as Thomas Jaffray, Stephen Sewell and Kristian Moloney had also pleaded guilty to their involvement.

Kaneil Henry made a series of trips to the north east in June, July and August 2017, the trial heard.

He was said to be acting at the behest of Theo Henry and Callaghan to "deliver significant quantities of drugs" to the north east.

But police swooped on Kaneil Henry on February 2 this year as he was driving a Fiat Tipo which was said to be heading to the region.

Inside the car were 12 kilos of cocaine and 13 grams of heroin which had a wholesale value of more than £300,000 and a potential yield of more than £4m when sold on, according to the prosecution.

The trial heard the drugs had been destined for Middlesbrough, Teesside, but when the goods failed to show it caused ‘panic’ among the other conspirators.

It was was one of many of drug runs said to have been made to the north east.

The trial heard Callaghan went to great expense to look after his customers.

He booked three rooms at Principal Hotel in Edinburgh for three nights to celebrate New Year’s Eve in 2017. He was said to have booked a VIP table at Opal Lounge, a bar in Edinburgh, to bring in the New Year, spending £395 on a magnum of vodka and a bottle of rose champagne.

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Callaghan was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and two counts of conspiracy to supply class B drugs. He was also convicted of conspiracy to acquire or use criminal property.

The jury found him not guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing amunition with intent to endanger life.

Kaneil Winston Henry, 25, of Hulme, was also found not guilty of possessing the gun and amunition with intent to endanger life.

He admitted four counts of conspiracy to supply class A or class B drugs. He also pleaded guilty to acquiring or using criminal property.

Hamilton, 33, of Hulme, was found not guilty of four counts of conspiracy to supply class A or B drugs. The Crown offered no evidence against him on the gun and ammunition charges and not guilty verdicts were recorded.

But the jury found him guilty of acquiring or using criminal property.

Zhu was found guilty of using or possessing criminal property.

The four men and others from the north east end of the operation are due to be sentenced on September 18.

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