A mother and her two sons - members of a notorious Liverpool crime family - have been jailed today for a total of 32 years and six months over a failed plot to smuggle more than £6 million of heroin from Turkey.
Brothers Jason and Ian Fitzgibbon, and their mother, Christine, were caught after authorities seized 126lb (57kg) of heroin in Turkey and followed the trail back to Liverpool.
- Christine Fitzgibbon was jailed for two years for money laundering
- Jason Fitzgibbon was jailed for 16 years for conspiring to import heroin and money laundering
- Ian Fitzgibbon was jailed for 14 years and six months for conspiring to supply heroin and ecstasy and money laundering
All pleaded guilty to the charges at earlier court hearings.
The Fitzgibbon family "convicted themselves by their own words, in their own house", police said after officers hid a listening device in the family's detached home in an affluent Merseyside suburb.
In covert recordings the brothers can be heard bickering over who is the better drug dealer and in another Jason can be heard singing a version of Jessie J's song Price Tag. He can be heard singing: "It's all about the money, money, money."
When the address in Edale Road was raided, officers found more than £180,000 in cash, most of it stuffed under the floorboards.
Christine Fitzgibbon, 60, was described by prosecutors as effectively the "banker" of the operation who stored the money from their illicit dealings.
Jason led the business and was responsible for importing the drugs, while Ian took charge of supplying to the streets of Britain.
The Crown said drug dealing and money laundering under their control took place on an "enormous scale" between 2008 and 2011.
ITV News Correspondent Damon Green:
The family were traced after drugs were seized in a Turkish police operation on September 26 2011, when five suspected drug traffickers were rounded up.
Officers found the 126lb (57kg) of high-purity heroin - with a potential street value of £7 million - wrapped in brown tape in a car boot.
After their arrest, the Turkish conspirators were heard arguing, and one was overheard making comments that police believed linked them to Jason Fitzgibbon, who had flown to Turkey several times. The Fitzgibbons' home was bugged and evidence against them began to stack up.
Today, Fitzgibbon associate Daniel Smith, 26, of Warren Road, Liverpool, was jailed for 10 years for admitting conspiracy to supply ecstasy, while another associate, Neil Williams, 32, of Wellington Court, Liverpool, was jailed for 21 months for laundering.
A sixth defendant, Neil Harrison, 40, of Capella Close, Liverpool, will be sentenced at a later date for drug supply offences.
If they were to have channelled their thoughts and efforts into a legitimate business I have no doubt they'd be very wealthy individuals.
What we have here is a criminal family running a criminal business. Mum, very much the company director, finance director and consultant. Father a consultant, adviser to the two brothers. And the brothers, very hands-on managing directors involved in source countries (countries from which drugs are sourced) and face-to-face meetings.
– MATT BURTON FROM THE SERIOUS ORGANISED CRIME AGENCY
Mum, as the finance director, would be well aware of the exchange rate between the euro and the pound. She would be aware of the impact of that in any importation.
She's very acutely aware of our tactics... and would advise her sons on forensic strategies and ways to avoid detection.
But these individuals have convicted themselves by their own words in their own house.