Two men jailed for roles in class A drug conspiracy
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Two men have been jailed for over 25 years for their roles in a class A drug conspiracy in Bury following an investigation by GMP's Serious and Organised Crime Group (SOCG).
Alexander Hepworth (07/11/1990) and Pasquelino Mazzuca (06/06/1968) were sentenced earlier today (Tuesday 8 June) at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court to a combined total of 27 years and 11 months after admitting conspiracy to supply at least 30kilos of cocaine.
Between April and October 2019, mobile phone messages showed Hepworth directing Mazzuca to collect and deliver large amounts of class A drugs and cash across the country - including as far as Plymouth - and on one occasion discussed supplying a firearm and ammunition.
The court heard that the messages frequently discussed large quantities of class A drugs, where Hepworth, of Alden Road in Rossendale, was collecting thousands of pounds and giving Mazzuca a share of the cash.
The investigation into the men stemmed from another SOCG operation - codenamed Heart - in Bury where three siblings from the Din family spearheaded a multi-million pound cross-Pennine class A drug conspiracy, which ultimately saw 18 men and women jailed in 2020 for almost 140 years.
In the summer of 2019, police executed a warrant at the Din's beauty business based off Oram Street where over 2000 MDMA tablets were recovered and found to have Mazzuca's fingerprints on the packaging, triggering the launch of Operation Bolognese.
By October that year, Mazzuca was arrested at his home address on Holden Avenue in Ramsbottom and denied any involvement in the supply of drugs when interviewed under caution.
A thorough investigation of Mazzuca's devices uncovered his role in a conspiracy with Hepworth; messages showed Hepworth regularly sending passwords to Mazzuca to ensure the authenticity of the customer he was travelling to meet.
The password 'diamond' was used for a £70,000 sale of what investigators believe to have been 10kilos of heroin supplied to two unknown people in Rawtenstall.
When Hepworth was arrested, he was found to be in possession of two encrypted EncroChat phones - however this pre-dated the international unlocking of such devices and all evidence of Hepworth's offending came from chats on Mazzuca's phone.
It is unknown exactly how much money their conspiracy was worth but detectives found evidence of tens of thousands of pounds worth being discussed and collected.
The pair were later brought back into custody and in February 2020 where they were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply heroin, possession of ammunition and possession of a firearm for sale or transfer.
Mazzuca was also charged with possession with intent to supply MDMA.
On Wednesday 5 May, after one day of a Crown Court trial, both men plead guilty to the conspiracy to supply of at least 30kilos of cocaine, which was accepted by the prosecution.
Hepworth was ordered to serve 16 years and nine months while Mazzuci will serve 11 years and two months.
Detective Constable Chris Chinnery, of GMP's Serious and Organised Crime Group, said: "Today's result is very satisfying after a rigorous investigation into the roles that these two men played in the supply of class A drugs into Greater Manchester from across the region and further afield.
"When looking through the array of messages that Hepworth and Mazzuca exchanged with each other it is clear that they operated in a manner where they thought they could never be caught for their illicit activities, however they couldn’t have been more wrong.
"Hepworth never put himself in a position where he was at risk of getting detected and tried to make as much money as he could through Mazzuca's willingness to travel as far as it took to make a sale, which ultimately saw him leaving fingerprints on a batch of drugs which was able to unravel this particular conspiracy.
"What they both had in common was their disregard of the law, of the legitimate means of making money that the rest of decent people in society abide by, and ultimately their greed for making money no matter the illegality of their enterprise.
"It is another two men off the streets of Greater Manchester who wish to profit from the desperation of those who ruin their lives becoming reliant on class A drugs, and we are prepared to do all we can to continue removing such offenders from our towns and cities."