/Scouse Porky gang hid drugs in car batteries and gift bags

Scouse Porky gang hid drugs in car batteries and gift bags

A sophisticated gang dubbed the “Scouse Porky Line” managed to run a heroin and cocaine empire by stuffing drugs in car battery packs and Amazon boxes and gift bags.

The ruthless gang members exploited vulnerable adults as drugs mules as part of their enterprise to make 500 mile round trips to supply heroin and cocaine from Merseyside to Bournemouth.

But the gang’s drugs empire has been brought to its knees after it was smashed by South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) working with Merseyside and Dorset police forces.

The ten gang members have been sentenced to a total of more than 60 years in prison for their roles in running a ‘county line’ –  which sees gangs use a mobile phone and couriers to extend their criminal activity business into new locations.

Eight of the group, led by 31-year-old James Brown from Walton known as Scouse Porky and St Helens man Thomas Garcia, 26, pleaded guilty to their parts in the two conspiracies last year.

The remaining two were found guilty at a trial last July.

SW ROCU officers search the boot of the car brought on a low loader from Liverpool to Bournemouth on November 1, 2018. They find £100k worth of heroin and £50k worth of cocaine.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

During the trial the jury heard how the group’s ‘couriers’, which included vulnerable adults, would make the 500 mile round trip from Bournemouth to Liverpool and back to deliver cash and collect drugs, sometimes staying for just 40 minutes before heading back down south.

The group started out transporting the drugs and cash concealed in car battery packs, but after Richie McDonald was arrested they changed their tactics.

On October 30 2018 £25k cash was seized following a stop check in Liverpool. It was concealed in an Amazon gift wrapped box.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

They instead used gift wrapped boxes and gift bags to hide their goods. 

At one stop check in Liverpool on October 30, 2018, £25k cash was seized which had been hidden in a gift Amazon wrapped box.

This caused the group to change their tactics again. 

This time, ‘fixer’ Olatunde Ademuyiwa arranged for a company to transport a VW Golf used by Thomas Garcia and James Brown to Liverpool on the back of a low loader where it was replaced with a Ford Mondeo before returning to Bournemouth. 

SW ROCU officers search the boot of the car brought on a low loader from Liverpool to Bournemouth on November 1, 2018. They find £100k worth of heroin and £50k worth of cocaine.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

Stephen McDonald and Shaun Lewis were awaiting its arrival and, despite trying to run off, were arrested by SW ROCU officers. 

When the vehicle was searched on November 1, 2018, £100k worth of heroin and £50k worth of cocaine in Puma sport label carrier bags were found concealed inside the boot space.

The main members of the organised crime group were arrested in simultaneous raids in Merseyside and Dorset in November 2018, including Thomas and Sean Garcia, James Brown and David Murphy.

Detective Inspector Adrian Hawkins from the SW ROCU said: “Led by Thomas Garcia and James Brown, this group went all out to try and avoid detection and keep their ‘Scouse Porky Line’ running, exploiting vulnerable adults to transport their drugs and cash along the way. “

He added: “They were regularly exchanging between 250 and 300 messages a day with drug users in Dorset, which shows the scale of their supply and the harm they were causing. 

“All of this was managed from their homes in Merseyside – and even at one point while they travelled around Europe. 

“The successful conviction of all 10 – including early guilty pleas from the key players – shows the strength of the evidence we secured against them, despite their best efforts, by working closely with the police forces at both ends of the ‘county line’.”

Merseyside Superintendent Graeme Robson, Area Commander for Sefton area, said: “This crime group, like many before them, saw an opportunity to take their criminal business to areas they thought were a risk-free route to easy money.  Today’s sentences show how wrong they were.

“Forces increasingly work together to share intelligence, carry out joint operations and ensure that borders are no obstacle to justice. Wherever in the country criminals attempt to operate, Merseyside Police and our partner forces and agencies will be there to investigate, and remove the risk and harm from whichever communities are affected.

“The issue of County Lines is uppermost in people’s minds at the moment and we want to keep it that way. Recognise the signs and tell police or Crimestoppers if you suspect someone vulnerable is being criminally exploited.  We will do the rest.”

Full breakdown of sentences handed down on Friday, January 10:

James Brown aka ‘Scouse Porky’, 31, from Centenary Close in Walton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018.

Sentenced to 10 years in custody and will be subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order for five years upon his release.

James Brown known as Scouse Porky- pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Sentenced to 10 years in custody and will be subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order for five years upon his release.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

Thomas Garcia, 26, from Blackdown Grove in St Helens – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. 

Sentenced to 10 years in custody and will be subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order for five years upon his release.

Thomas Garcia – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Sentenced to 10 years in custody and will be subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order for five years upon his release.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

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Stephen McDonald, 38, from Hanlon Close in Bournmouth – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018.  Sentenced to 8 years in custody.

Stephen McDonald – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Sentenced to 8 years in custody
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

Shaun Lewis, 27, from Leybourne Avenue, Bournemouth pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018.  Sentenced to 7 years and 4 months in custody.

Shaun Lewis – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Sentenced to 7 years and 4 months in custody.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

Full breakdown of sentences handed down on Monday, January 13:

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Olatunde Ademuyiwa, 31, from Purbeck Road in Bournemouth– pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. 

Found guilty at trial last July and sentenced to 8 years in custody.

Olatunde Ademuyiwa – pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Found guilty at trial last July and sentenced to 8 years in custody.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

Sean Garcia, 30, from Osborne Road in Tuebrook pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018.  Sentenced to six years in custody.

Sean Garcia – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Sentenced to 6 years in custody
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

David Murphy, 34, from Stranraer Road, Wigan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018.

David Murphy – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Sentenced to 5 years in custody, plus an additional 8 months to run concurrently for possession of a stun gun.

Sentenced to five years in custody, plus an additional 8 months to run concurrently for possession of a stun gun.

Richie McDonald, 35, from Granville Road in Poole pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018.  Sentenced to 32 months in custody.

Richie McDonald – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018. Sentenced to 32 months in custody.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

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Dealer Carl Norton, 41, from Turbary Park Road, Bournemouth originally pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018, but changed his plea to guilty mid-trial. 

Carl Norton – originally pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between March 2018 and November 2018, but changed his plea to guilty mid-trial. Sentenced to 3.5 years for the drugs conspiracies and 18 months for two burglaries. He also received 6 months for possession of Class A and 6 months for possession of a lock knife – those sentences will run concurrently.
(Image: South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU))

Sentenced to three and a half years for the drugs conspiracies and 18 months for two burglaries. He also received six months for possession of Class A and six months for possession of a lock knife – those sentences will run concurrently.

Craig Biddle, 27, of no fixed abode has had his sentencing deferred.

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