Eight members of a “sophisticated” £100m drug-dealing ring have been jailed for up to 24 years.
Police said the Greater Manchester gang flooded north-east England with drugs.
During the trial, the Manchester Crown Court jury heard the operation was run like a legitimate business, even offering corporate hospitality.
Gang leader Marcus Callaghan, 34, of Manchester, was sent to prison for 24 years while other gang members were jailed for between 21 and four years.
Callaghan was convicted at Manchester Crown Court of conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, amphetamine and cannabis and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime,
The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) discovered Callaghan and his associates were supplying millions of pounds worth of drugs to contacts in Middlesbrough and the North East.
The operation was run from a flat in Stalybridge, where drugs would be stored before being driven to the North East in hire cars and handed to buyers for distribution.
The court was shown CCTV video of Callaghan, of Newcastle Street, Hulme, with defendants Theodore Henry and Thomas Jaffray celebrating New Year’s Eve at an exclusive Edinburgh hotel and bar.
They spent thousands of pounds on drinks and rooms while meeting clients they hoped to do business with.
Police said searches of the defendants’ flats and cars in February uncovered drugs and cash worth about £31m, while evidence from books kept suggested the whole operation was worth more than £100m.
Other members sentenced
- Theo Henry, 30, of Culmington Close, Manchester – 21 years. Admitted supplying drugs, possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime
- Kaneil Henry, 25, Culmington Close, Manchester – 12 years. Admitted conspiracy to supply drugs and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime
- Thomas Jaffray, 34, of Eastwood Road, Middlesbrough – 13 years and four months. Admitted conspiracy to supply drugs and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime
- Stephen Sewell, 38, of Colmore Avenue, Middlesbrough – 10 years and eight months. Admitted conspiracy to supply drugs and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime
- Richard Llewellyn, 34, of Roworth Road, Middlesbrough – seven years. Admitted conspiracy to supply drugs
- Rui Zhu, 39, of Graham Street, Birmingham – six years. Convicted of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime
- Jerome Hamilton, 22, of Northdown Avenue, Manchester – four years. Convicted of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime
Kristian Maloney, 33, of Sefton Road, Middlesbrough, is due to be sentenced later for conspiracy to supply drugs and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.
Det Insp Jason Pye from NWROCU said: “This was a sophisticated and very well-organised crime group that flooded Middlesbrough and the North East with heroin and cocaine, blighting the lives of some of the most vulnerable.”