'Complete drugs operation' smashed with gang jailed for more than 50 years
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Six members of an Organised Crime Group who ran a 'complete drugs operation' that supplied heroin and cocaine across the north west have been jailed for more than 50 years.
The sentences follow several surveillance operations in north Manchester, Middleton and Stockport.
The gang - led by Ricci Ferrari from Moston - was involved in the supply of cocaine and heroin in wholesale amounts through a drugs line that operated across the north west and at a more local level in the Moston and Harpurhey areas of Manchester through a network of street dealers.
They used a series of 'safe houses', often forcing drug users to allow them to use their premises for the storage and preparation of drugs.
In a 10-week period from March 2020-June 2020, it is estimated the gang moved 25.5kg of heroin and cocaine worth £1.15m.
In total, just under £170,000 was seized from the gang in a series of warrants in late 2020 and early 2021.
In total, six people were sentenced to a total of 54 years at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday (2 March 2023).
Ricci Ferrari (21/10/1984), of Alcester Close, Middleton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering and was jailed for 12 years.
Stuart Shears (12/12/1970), of Ravenoak Road, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, money laundering and assisting an offender, and was jailed for 12 years.
Anthony Davies (26/08/1984), of Gisburne Avenue, Moston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, money laundering and assisting an offender, and was jailed for 12 years.
Callum Hunt (16/02/1990), of Caen Avenue, Moston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was jailed for seven years and six months.
Ryan Roberts (01/12/1989), of Branston Road, Moston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and escaping from lawful custody, and was jailed for five years and nine months.
Steven Aronwich (DOB 26/10/1990), of Anfield Road, Moston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was jailed for five years and two months.
Four other members of the gang were sentenced at previous hearings and there will be a proceeds of crime hearing at a later date.
Surveillance by GMP's Serious and Organised Crime Group started in August 2020 with ringleader Ferrari, Davies and Shears all under observation.
Ferrari tried to give the impression he was running a legitimate property company but was using criminal money to fund his business while Davies and Shears ran the drugs line for him.
On 7 December 2020, at a warrant at Thorverton Square, Moston, officers found 1.42kg of heroin and 21kg of mixing agent and Aronwich and Roberts were arrested after fleeing.
Two weeks later, a house on Ibbotsen Walk was also raided and 1.1kg of cocaine, 1kg of mixing agent and a small amount of heroin was recovered.
Shears and Hunt were then put under observation and were seen meeting at a Manchester city centre hotel on 5 January 2021. It is believed they were inside going through the gang's accounts and counting money.
Shears was followed to Tweedle Hill Road, Blackley, where three 1kg blocks of cocaine and £167,000 in cash were found - some of the money was found in a bathtub with a large amount stuffed into a sofa.
When officers searched the Stockport home of Shears on 5 January 2021 they found around £2,000 in cash in the master bedroom, a special edition Pinarello Dogma bicycle valued at over £10,000 and a Wattbike valued at around £3,000.
The house had been extensively renovated throughout including the rear garden that had been 'landscaped at great expense'.
Ferrari was arrested on 21 January 2021 on suspicion of conspiracy to deal class A drugs and charged along with Shears and Davies.
Detective Chief Inspector Claire McGuire, of GMP's Serious Crime Division, said: "We have taken out a drugs line from top to bottom that not only removes a number of drug dealers from the street but also their drugs.
"This was a complete operation with drugs coming in from Europe, from Spain and the Netherlands, cut with a mixing agent and then distributed via a network of street sellers.
"They made a massive profit from mixing the drugs and selling it on the streets."