Sheffield 'global drugs linchpin' jailed for 20 years

image copyrightSouth Yorkshire Police
image captionCraig Allen was jailed after admitting to supplying and importing Class A drugs

A drug trafficker described by prosecutors as the "linchpin of a global drugs conspiracy" has been jailed for 20 years.

Craig Allen, 50, from Sheffield, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court after he admitted conspiring to supply and import heroin and cocaine.

He was arrested in the Netherlands in October, just days after the National Crime Agency (NCA) launched.

During the investigation police recovered 22kg (48lb) of Class A drugs.

Allen became the first British fugitive to be arrested overseas after the NCA - dubbed "the British FBI" - was launched.

'Tip of iceberg'

Roger Woodward, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Craig Allen was an international criminal - the linchpin of a global drugs conspiracy and one of the most significant drugs traffickers we have ever prosecuted in Yorkshire and Humberside."

He said Allen, who operated from Thailand and Amsterdam, was "at the heart of a spider's web of buyers, importers and suppliers of massive quantities of heroin and cocaine".

Mr Woodward said: "During the course of the investigation, 22 kilos of drugs and almost half a million Euros were seized - but this is very likely to have been the tip of the iceberg."

Allen was sentenced alongside four other people: 50-year-old Leroy Grant, of Cornbrook Grove, Old Trafford, Manchester; Steven Hudson, 43, of Ellesmere Road, Sheffield; O'Neil Davidson, 36, of Wellington Road, Stockport; and 45-year-old Selena Nickels, of Scotia Drive, Sheffield.

image copyrightSouth Yorkshire Police
image captionLeroy Grant (left) and Steven Hudson were jailed for a total of 27 years
image copyrightSouth Yorkshire Police
image captionO'Neil Davidson (left) and Selena Nickels both pleaded guilty to their roles. Brian Saunders (right) will be sentenced later

Grant, who was said to be "instrumental" in arranging the distribution of "significant" quantities of heroin, was jailed for 18 years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin.

Hudson was jailed for nine years, Davidson for eight years and Nickels for six years. All three admitted their role in the conspiracy.

A sixth person, 48-year-old Brian Saunders, of East Glade Place, in Hackenthorpe, Sheffield, will be sentenced at a later date after admitting supplying heroin.

Det Insp Craig Jackson, from South Yorkshire Police, said: "The perception is that men like Allen, who sit at the top of organised crime groups, are untouchable, but this case shows that they are anything but."

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