Ten years behind bars for leader of county drugs ring

The ringleader of a sophisticated drugs ring which was supplying cocaine across the county has been jailed for ten years.

Leigh Upsall (30), of Keel Drive, Kirton, was identified as one of the leaders of a large crime network involved in the cutting, preparation and distribution of the drug between December 2010 and November 2011.

He was joined by another Kirton man, Colin Gibson (57), of Station Road, and two from Wyberton – Timothy Hampson (41), of London Road and Brett Fletcher (29), of Saundergate Lane East – as well as others from the Boston and Peterborough areas, Humberside, Derbyshire and London.

The defendants were all arrested during planned police raids between September 2011 and May 2012.

Eighteen men have appeared at Nottingham Crown Court following Operation Latious, where they were sentenced to a total of more than 100 years on charges of conspiring to supply and distribute Class A drugs.

The prosecution was able to show that the gang, jointly headed by Upsall and Boston man Nicholas Howarth, were initially receiving large quantities of high purity cocaine from London until the end of May 2011.

After that, they began sourcing their cocaine from a Peterborough-based organised crime group before turning to a supplier in Grimsby in August 2011 after all other supply networks had closed down.

Nicholas Howarth (44), of Wing Drive, was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison.

Gibson and Hampson were each sentenced to five years and nine months.

Fletcher received a 16-month prison sentence.

The operation to investigate and close down the drugs ring was conducted by police officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit – Serious Organised Crime (EMSOU-SOC) section.

Senior investigating officer DCI Joe Elliott, from EMSOU-SOC, said: “This was a large and complex investigation and the arrest and conviction of these men has stopped the supply of large amounts of cocaine coming onto the streets of Lincolnshire.

“This was a sophisticated crime group who were making large amounts of money from their enterprise.”