Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Drugs Fugitive Gets 17 Years; KEY FIGURE IN COCAINE GANG JAILED FOR ROLE IN CONSPIRACY

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Drugs Fugitive Gets 17 Years; KEY FIGURE IN COCAINE GANG JAILED FOR ROLE IN CONSPIRACY

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE THOMAS, and KIERAN MURRAY kieran.murray@reachplc.com @ReporterKie

A FUGITIVE who played a major role in a multimillion-pound cocaine plot connected to Teesside has been locked up for almost 17 years.

John Mullally, from Liverpool, went on the run after being identified as a key figure in a transpennine drugs gang.

Mullally spent two years at large before being hunted down by a surveillance network launched to find him and his partner in crime.

The Gazette previously reported the conviction of Guisborough grandad Paul McGovern, who was one of Mullally's ring.

McGovern, 46, was part of the gang that ferried large amounts of class A drugs to the North East over a year.

Mullally was initially arrested in 2016, shortly after his associates, Leslie Moulden and Anthony Carr, were found with four kilos of high purity cocaine valued at just over PS2.75m.

Detectives linked him to the enterprise after text messages placing him at the heart of the gang's North West operation.

But in June 2017, ahead of their first appearance in court, Mullally and Moulden absconded.

Their disappearance led to a hunt by covert officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), which includes Cleveland Police.

That bid led to Moulden being traced to Leeds after a year on the run before Mullally was tracked to Merseyside earlier this year.

Mullally was sentenced last week to 16 years and eight months imprisonment at Newcastle Crown Court.

The 56-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession of cocaine and absconding on bail.

Mullally's latest sentence followed one in 2006 for a massive cocaine and heroin conspiracy.

He was said to have been one of three key figures in a Merseyside gang that had links to Spain, the Netherlands and the Balkans. …

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