Members of a drugs gang who laundered criminal cash through ice cream parlours and takeaways have been jailed.
The seven men from Wigan were convicted of offences including conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering, following a six-week trial at Bolton Crown Court.
The court heard during the trial - which ran from November 2021 to January 2022 - how an investigation – codenamed Operation Trinket - was initially launched by Wigan’s anti-gang officers in July 2018.
Hundreds of items including quantities of drugs, cash, mobile phones and SIM cards were seized for examination, along with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of assets including high value designer clothing, jewellery and prestige vehicles.
The court heard how many of the group made vast profits through the wholesale supply of cocaine.
A number of the group registered themselves as the directors of Limited companies, including ‘WTR Sheds’, ‘Mikey’s Sweet Dreams’ ice cream parlour, ‘Botatelli’s Ice Cream’ and takeaway called ‘Spudway’ - which were said to be set up with the intention of laundering the vast amounts of cash derived from their criminal activities.
The group received sentences totalling 70 years:
Paul Witter, of Trinity Gardens, Ashton-in-Makerfield, was sentenced to seven years to be served consecutively with a 12-year sentence he has already received.
Marc Talbot, of Kilburn Avenue, Wigan, was sentenced to seven years to be served consecutively with a 10-year sentence he has already received.
Michael Talbot, of Hamilton Road, Garswood, was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment.
Cameron Talbot of Langolm Road, Garswood, was sentenced to six years imprisonment.
Paul Whittaker, of Moxon Way, Ashton-in-Makerfield, was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
Thomas Tither, of Ince Green Lane, Wigan, was sentenced to six years imprisonment.
David Barnes, of Tenbury Drive, Ashton-in-Makerfield, was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment.