A dealer who sourced high purity cocaine for an organised crime group has been jailed for 10 years.
Christopher Windmill, 47, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday 17 February where he was sentenced for supplying Liam Pow and his drugs-ring with Class A substances.
Police said three kilos of cocaine, with a street value of £135,000, and £260,000 of suspected criminal cash was seized during a series of raids targeting the gang.
Officers had uncovered encrypted messages sent between Windmill and Pow, during March and May 2020 - when the UK was in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Deciphering the slang and coded language, they discovered Pow and his associates were selling cocaine sourced by Windmill and his contacts.
After building up a file of evidence, officers from Northumbria Police carried out targeted raids across Cramlington, West Denton, Walker and further afield in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, making a number of arrests and seizing cocaine and cash.
With assistance from West Midlands Police, Windmill, who is from Coventry, was arrested at his home address in February 2021, brought in for questioning and charged in connection with the conspiracy.
Windmill, of Auberndale Avenue, Coventry, was jailed for 10 years and six months on Friday 17 February.
One of the group’s couriers, Ronald Smith, of Laburnum Gardens in Durham, also appeared at the same court today (Tuesday) where he was jailed for three years and four months.
The results follow the sentencing of Pow and eight others, who were jailed for a combined total of almost 50 years for conspiracy to supply, at the same court in December 2022 and January 2023.
Detective Chief Inspector Marc Michael, from the force’s crime department said: "We make no apologies for our continued activity to remove illegal and destructive substances like cocaine from our communities and I am pleased with the sentence handed down.
"Windmill was shameless in his approach to sourcing and selling high purity cocaine – using encrypted messaging to try and evade the law and cover up his offending.
"What’s worse is that this group flouted Covid regulations, meeting up to exchange cash and drugs while the rest of us were trying to adapt and follow the lockdown rules.
"This case was compiled with the help and support of officers and staff from across the force, our West Midlands Police colleagues and our criminal justice partners.
"It has resulted in twelve convictions and a number of organised criminals being placed behind bars. Two further men are due to be sentenced later this year.
"As part of Operation Sentinel, we’ll continue to work hard to disrupt this type of criminality."
Those previously convicted for their roles:
Liam Pow, 34, of Wreay Walk in Cramington, was jailed for 14 years and four months.
Scott Ridley, 32, of Walkerfield Court in Newcastle, was jailed for nine years and four months.
Tiffany Day, 30, also of Walkerfield Court denied her involvement but was found guilty following a trial, and jailed for three years.
Christopher Phillips, 30, of Clapham Avenue, Newcastle was jailed for four years and six months.
Alexander Peter James Bales, 25, of Ida Place, Newton Aycliffe, was jailed for four years and nine months.
Jace Michael Farrell, 26, of Phoenix Place, in Newton Aycliffe, was jailed for four years and nine months.
David Storey, 29, of Welbeck Road, Walker was jailed for five years and one month.
Nathan Houghton of Wakenshaw Drive, Newton Aycliffe was jailed for 4 years and one month.
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