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Sophisticated crime group jailed for more than 70 years

A sophisticated drug operation was foiled after a suitcase full of cash and high purity cocaine was discovered at a man’s house in Salford.

The head of the operation, Robert Foxen, spent hour’s co-ordinating the ‘trusted’ dealers and suppliers using military-grade encrypted phones to evade detection.

Patrick O’Leary and Adam Ward reported into Foxen and his right-hand-man Alan McNally – the money man – who was responsible for managing the drug empire’s cash.

O’Leary and Ward also instructed the couriers, Jordan Roberts, Jason Wilson and Andrew Booth, where to drop the drugs.

In one of these transactions O’Leary became a bit more hands-on as he was instructed by Foxen to supply Anthony Hamnett with cocaine.

A flurry of calls followed, as Hamnett’s car – containing 7kgs of cocaine O’Leary had previously handed over – was stopped by officers.

His arrest sparked panic amongst the other key players but they had no idea police were closing in on their safe house at Maranatha Court. Officers later found 5kgs of cocaine hidden in a safe there intended to be distributed to their customers.

In the months that followed, officers continued to investigate the large scale supply of Class A drugs in Salford as part of Operation Legend.

Foxen and McNally thought they had hidden their involvement by encrypting the messages they sent to the dealers through state of the art phones, continuing to live a lavish lifestyle while their couriers were at risk of detection.

As soon as the drugs had been given to customers, the couriers would contact McNally so he could count the cash from each of the deals, which spanned across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Closing in on McNally’s involvement, officers searched his house and found £124,000 hidden in a suitcase under his bed, alongside a detailed tick list with how much cash he had counted for each deal.

Dedicated organised crime officers tasked with hunting down the group were finally able to bring the operation to a halt in late September 2017