Posted on Tuesday 6th September

A high-profile investigation that struck at the heart of organised crime has come to an end – with collective jail terms of almost 125 years being handed to 39 defendants.

Operation Alzira - a 12-month operation targeting a number of organised crime groups in Macclesfield and Congleton - has struck several decisive blows In the ongoing war against illegal drugs.

The 4 women and 35 men were part of a conspiracy to bring Class A drugs onto the streets of East Cheshire. During the year-long investigation extensive evidence was gathered by a dedicated team of officers from the Covert Policing Unit.

Detective Sergeant Gavin Day said: “This operation has struck at the heart of a number of organised crime gangs by removing the hierarchy who organise the drug supply and reap the benefits from the profits generated. It sends out a strong warning that Cheshire Constabulary is committed to tackling this type of crime and will do all it can to ensure that those involved in organised crime and the supply and distribution of illegal drugs are identified and dealt with.

“All the defendants had different levels of involvement and control over the supply of drugs in Macclesfield and Congleton. However their aim was clear – to bring illegal drugs onto the streets and sell them on for a profit. They clearly believed they were above the law and showed a blatant disregard for local people carrying out their activities in public places with no thought about the impact it could have on the community.

“Drugs ruin lives and devastate communities and these defendants were ignorant to this, purely concentrating on self-gain and profit. This is a great result and will go a long way in reassuring local people that ‘We’re Here’ for them. Residents should not have to live in fear or intimidation of this sort of illegal activity taking place in their neighbourhoods. The sentences handed down send out a strong message that if you choose to come into Cheshire and sell drugs and spread misery then you will end up paying the price for your actions."

As part of the investigation, detectives identified a number of criminal gangs who were working independently and transporting Heroin and Crack Cocaine to Macclesfield and Congleton.

A dedicated team of officers worked tirelessly over the 12 month period to secure evidence against each gang and build a strong case against all those arrested.

Substantial prison sentences have been handed out to many of the defendants – reinforcing the message that there is no place in Cheshire for drug related activity.

Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “I would like to thank every police officer and member of police staff involved in this case. Many hours have been dedicated to dismantling and disrupting a number of organised crime groups across Macclesfield and Congleton. The hard work has paid off and resulted in significant sentences being handed down to a large number of defendants.

“Drugs have a detrimental impact on our communities. Cheshire residents have told me that drugs are a key local issue for them and tackling the issue of drug misuse and supply is of the uppermost importance to me. I will be working with the Chief Constable to ensure the excellent work the Constabulary has undertaken continues."