Liverpool

Leaders of nationwide drug gangs jailed

(L-R) Michael Rice, Liam Cornett, Kieran Eves Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption (L-R) Michael Rice, Liam Cornett, Kieran Eves were all jailed

The ringleaders of a nationwide drug gang who lived a lavish lifestyle which included gambling in Monte Carlo have been jailed.

Liam Cornett, Michael Rice and Kieran Eves headed up the gang which spread across Hull, south Wales and Cornwall.

Gang leader Cornett was jailed for 26 years, while Rice was sentenced to 12 years and eight months and Eves was jailed for 13 years and nine months.

Twenty-five others were also jailed at Liverpool Crown Court.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Cornett in a Bentley car in Monaco

An investigation was launched after a grenade exploded at a property on Beresford Road in Dingle, Liverpool, in March 2017.

A search of the house led police to discover 160kg of amphetamines and 11kg of heroin.

This lead to an investigation led by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit featuring Merseyside Police, Devon and Cornwall Police, South Wales Police and Humberside Police.

Members of the group were seen transporting drugs and money in a County Lines operation, trying to take funds out of the country to fund Cornett's lifestyle and buying expensive cars with money.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Rice and Eves were stopped by armed police in Liverpool

Rice, 26, and Eves, 28, both of no fixed address, were stopped by police in December 2017 in a car on Smithdown Road, with a Glock handgun found in the vehicle.

Police said Cornett, 29, of Huyton in Merseyside, lived a life of luxury in Spain and gambled in Monte Carlo.

He was arrested at Manchester Airport in October 2018.

Det Insp Paul McVeigh, from Merseyside Police, said: "For a time, Cornett enjoyed a lavish lifestyle off the back of the misery of others, living most of the year in Spain, driving expensive cars and wearing expensive watches. But his web of conspiracy and deceit quickly unravelled.

"While he made some last ditch efforts to pretend he dealt only cannabis and no Class A drugs, in a desperate attempt to reduce his sentence, he failed to pull the wool over the eyes of police or the courts."

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