York cocaine and cannabis drug ring jailed for a total of 83 years and five months
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Eight people have been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court today for their part in a cocaine and cannabis drug production and supply chain in and around York.
Appearing today (Monday 26 June) were father and son ring leaders, 61-year old Michael Andrew Leaf and 29-year-old James Michael Leaf both of Fairway, York who were found guilty of conspiring to supply a class A drug and conspiring to produce a class B drug. Michael Leaf was sentenced to 16 years and five months imprisonment with James Leaf receiving 14 years and eight months imprisonment.
The pair were the main focus of the North Yorkshire Police's Organised Crime Unit’s investigation named Operation Wide. They used their legitimate building business as a front to organise the purchase, movement, storage and supply of cocaine and money between Leeds and York.
Appearing alongside them, four others were also handed lengthy prison sentences for their part in storing, running or dealing cocaine.
39-year-old Niki Squire of Tennyson Avenue, York received eight years six month for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine)
54-year-old Andrew Bailey of Kelcbar Close, Tadcaster received seven years and one month for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine)
34-year -old Michael Ross Clancy of Chapmangate, Pocklington received seven years and one month for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine)
66-year-old Gwyne Thomas Hollis of Heathcroft Crescent, Leeds was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment in his absence, for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine). Hollis failed to appear at court for trial in May and remains a wanted person.
The court heard evidence found by Operation Wide, that proved throughout November 2018 into May 2019 Michael Leaf, James Leaf, Gwyne Hollis, Niki Squire and Andrew Bailey were in regular contact with each other, organising trips to pick up drugs from Hollis in Leeds. They then moved them back to York for distribution by Michael Clancy, who stored and distributed the drugs and collected drug debts for Michael and James Leaf.
The ring began to unravel in May 2019 when Squire, who was driving back from a drug pick up in Leeds, was stopped by officers as he joined the A1237 ring road to York. Officers searched Squire’s vehicle and found two blocks of what was later confirmed as a kilogram of cocaine. Squire’s home and work van were also searched. While only a small amount of cocaine was found at the property, a substantial amount of cocaine with a street value of over £100,000 was found in his van, along with other substances used to mix with high purity cocaine. After Squire had been arrested, the group started to dispose and destroy phones used to arrange the drug runs, along with other evidence.
On the 13 August 2019, Michael Leaf, James Leaf, Gwyne Hollis, Michael Clancy and Andrew Bailey were arrested in connection with the supply of class A drugs. All were later charged with the offence.
Evidence uncovered by Operation Wide also found Michael and James Leaf were not only involved in the distribution of cocaine, but also involved in the industrial scale growth and cultivation of cannabis with two other men; 58-year-old Mark Vasey of The Plough Inn, Wakefield and 57-year old Craig Michael Hazel of Lea Way, Huntington, York.
The four men attempted to established a joint venture to grow cannabis at a vacant property in Market Weighton owned by Hazel. The same day the Leafs were arrested in connection with the cocaine offences, a warrant was executed at the property in Market Weighton, where evidence of preparation to house a cannabis grow were found. Vasey and Hazel were both investigated in relation to conspiracy to produce a class B drug and were subsequently charged with the offence.
Following a trial last month, they were both found guilty. They also appeared at Leeds Crown Court today, with Mark Vasey receiving a six year eight month prison sentence and Craig Hazel being sentenced to six years imprisonment.
Speaking about the sentence passed against the group today, investigating officer Detective Constable Neil Borchardt said;
“The individuals involved acted on pure selfishness and greed and had absolutely no regard for the damage and misery class A drugs do to the community as a whole, and the people addicted to them. The same for Vasey and Hazel, both men thought about nothing other than lining their own pockets with their illegal activity.
“I hope the sentence handed to both Michael and James Leaf, along with Hollis, Squire, Bailey, Clancy, Vasey and Hazel sends a strong warning out to those who think they can bring drugs into York and North Yorkshire. Myself and my colleagues will work relentlessly to break down your operations and put you where you belong, behind bars.”
Michael Leaf sentenced to 16 years five months
Jame Leaf sentenced to 14 years eight months
Gwyne Hollis sentenced to 17 years
Niki Squire sentenced to eight years six months
Andrew Bailey sentenced to seven years one month
Craig Hazel sentenced to six years
We do not have a custody picture of Mark Vasey and Michael Clancy on file.
Reporting information about drug-related crime
Anyone with any information about suspected drug-related crime are urged to make a report via the North Yorkshire Police website or by calling 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room
Always dial 999 if an emergency response is required
If you would prefer to remain anonymous, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or make a report online at crimestoppers-uk.org.
The signs of drug dealing can include
Increased callers at a property at all times of the day or night
Increase in cars pulling up for short periods of time
Different accents at a property
Anti-social behaviour at a property
Not seeing the resident for long periods of time
Drug-related rubbish – small plastic bags, syringes
Windows covered or curtains closed for long periods