Eight members of a cocaine and heroin empire have been jailed following the highest value drug seizure ever made by Greater Manchester Police.
On Friday 9 March 2018, seven of the men were jailed at Preston Crown Court for over 103 years in total after being convicted of drug conspiracy charges.
Julian Solomon (05/05/1980) of Grove Lane, Hale was convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The group were involved in a sophisticated international distribution network which would see vast amounts of the class A drugs make its way from Belgium to the UK, via the Netherlands.
The North West group was headed up by Julian Solomon, who was responsible for the arrangement, collection and onward delivery of that regions cocaine and heroin supply.
Unbeknown to the group, GMPs Serious Organised Crime Group was conducting a covert operation into their activities and on Wednesday 17 May 2017, a Scania HGV was stopped at the King George Docks in Hull by UK Border Force officials.
A subsequent search of the vehicle saw officers seize approximately 58kg of cocaine and almost 84kg of heroin – a combined street value of approximately ￡66,502,000.
Upon his return to the UK, Solomon was arrested and remanded into custody at HMP Forest Bank where he was visited on 26 May 2017 by Jason Starmer and Graham Rawling.
Detective Inspector Tony Norman, of GMPs Serious Organised Crime Group said: “These men operated one of the largest international drug importation networks that GMP has ever investigated with the seizure of over ￡66 million worth of drugs at Hull port – a key moment in our operation.
“Their offending didn’t just have a local impact on Greater Manchester; it reached across the UK and will no doubt have had a ripple effect in mainland Europe where their money was lining the pockets of crime bosses.
“We know how much misery local dealers can inflict on people’s lives however men like Eaton, Reece, Solomon and Starmer are the ones who are responsible for supplying those local dealers, enabling them to blight our communities and flood our streets with drugs.
“Our work to tackle local criminality is very important and alongside that we will continue to target those who operate at the very top so that we can shatter these organised crime networks and strangle the supply at a local level.
“This truly was an international team effort and I would like to thank the UK Borders Agency, the National Crime Agency and the Belgian authorities for the key support they have given us in achieving this outcome.
“I want the result today to send a clear message. It doesn’t matter how high up you are in a criminal outfit, if you are involved in the drugs supply trade in Greater Manchester, our incredibly dedicated team will ensure that you face prosecution are brought to justice.”