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VIDEO: Newmarket man who was part of major drugs gang jailed for five years

A Newmarket area man has been jailed for five years after admitting his part in a major drugs network stretching across five counties.

Ray Cracknell, 48, of Sherriff’s Court, Burrough Green, Newmarket, was one of 15 men sentenced to a total of 68 years following a police operation in May last year.

Detectives from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) seized drugs, cash and a gun in a series of investigations spanning Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and north London.

It began with a warrant in Chelmsford, Essex, in May last year, in which officers seized 15kg of cocaine, 1.5kg of cannabis, 4kg of ketamine and cash. That warrant linked a number of men from Essex and north Cambridgeshire into the supply of drugs.

Six men were jailed as a result.

ERSOU then set their sights on another group, including Cracknell, who had been linked to the defendants in the initial case.

A covert investigation was launched and identified several men who were couriers or buyers from the initial gang.

Police seized 20kg of the class B drug amphetamines worth £250,000, in a number of seizures.

In total a further six men were convicted of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, and were jailed today.

Judge Stephen Warner described the case as a ‘professional, sophisticated conspiracy’.

Finally, in February officers seized 109kg of cannabis from storage containers in Poplar, London, and from the boot of an Audi stopped in Bethnal Green on the same day.

Three men were linked to the drugs and were convicted of conspiracy to supply class B drugs following a trial at St Albans Crown Court. They were jailed last week.

Detective Inspector Geoff Knight said: “Drugs devastate communities and we will continue to investigate, disrupt and prosecute anyone involved in the use and supply.

“This case clearly shows that we will continue to investigate any associate of those involved in such criminality to ensure we dismantle every aspect of a supply chain.

“This should send a strong message to anyone involved in the supply of controlled drugs that ERSOU will come after you and put you before the courts.”

The six men sentenced as part of the initial operation were:

Dean Leonard, 50, of Thorpe Road, Frinton-on-sea, Essex, six years after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine

Michael Coughlin, 34, of Broadway, Yaxley, nine years for possession of cocaine with intent to supply, possession of a firearm and ammunition. He admitted both charges.

Gary Brace, 58, of Hart Road, Essex, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply class B drugs. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Danny Crook, 31, of Mapledene Road, Hackney, London, was jailed for 26 months after admitting possession with intent to supply cocaine and supplying amphetamine.

Lee Dunn Snr, 56, from Clacton , Essex, was jailed for three years and eight months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine.

Lee Dunn Jnr, 36, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, was jailed for nine years after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine.

The next six sentenced were:

Stephen Leonard, 52, of Rosemary Avenue, Enfield, was sentenced to five years and eight months

Darren Armani, 45, of Ordnance Road, Enfield, was jailed for four years and eight months

Paul Faley, 61, of Bells Hill, Barnet, was sentenced to three years and six months

Ray Cracknell, 48, of Sherriff’s Court, Newmarket, was jailed for five years

Andrew Stevenson, 48, of Malden Close, Cambridge, was sentenced to 10 months

John Atkinson, 51, of Beaconsfield Avenue, Epping, Essex, was given an eight month sentence

The final three to be jailed were:

Anthony Barry, 48, of Garland Road, Ware, Herts, was jailed for eight years

Akbar Eslamifar, 64, of Wellington Way, London was sentenced to four years

Peter Bryan, 48, of Fallow Rise, Herford, Herts, was sentenced to four years