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Three county lines drug dealers responsible for supplying heroin and cocaine in Warrington have been jailed for more than nine years.
Khalid Elgaddari, of Densham Avenue, Orford; Ashley Rathbone, of Woodvale Close, Padgate; and Kris Bamford, of Densham Avenue, Orford; were all sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday 5 Match.
They were jailed for a combined total of nine years and nine months.
Ringleader Elgaddari, 35, was imprisoned for six years after he admitted two counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs (heroin and cocaine).
Rathbone, 26, was jailed for three years and 34-year-old Bamford received a nine-month prison sentence after they both admitted supplying cocaine and being concerned in the supply of heroin.
Bamford also admitted allowing his home to be used for drug dealing.
The trio were arrested after officers from Warrington Beat Initiative Team conducted a warrant at Bamford’s home in Densham Avenue.
Elgaddari, Rathbone and Bamford were all present and during a search of the address officers discovered a rucksack containing almost 70 wraps of heroin and cocaine, which had an estimated street value of between £810 and £950.
They also found £1,260 in cash, digital scales, drugs bags, crack pipes and a variety of weapons, including an extendable baton, two air rifles and a knuckleduster.
Forensic analysis of the 13 mobile phones seized from the address revealed that they had been used for drug dealing by Elgaddari.
CCTV footage from nearby showed Elgaddari walking to the address with the rucksack in which the drugs were found.
Following their arrests Rathbone and Bamford both denied having any involvement in drug dealing – they claimed that Elgaddari was the dealer and they simply purchased drugs from him.
Elgaddari refused to answer any questions when interviewed by officers.
However, as a result of the catalogue of evidence gather against them, the trio subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them.
Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Cameron Mackay said: “Drugs have a hugely detrimental impact, causing widespread misery. As such, removing those involved in drug dealing from our communities is of paramount importance.
“Throughout this investigation it has been clear that Elgaddari, Rathbone and Bamford have no regard for the law and that they were all involved in the supply of class A drugs in Warrington.
“Elgaddari was the ringleader of the group and at the time of his arrest he had only been out of prison for four weeks, following a previous conviction for drug offences.
“The group used pay-as-you-go phones for their criminal enterprise which systematically exploited vulnerable people.
“Thankfully, as a result of a thorough investigation, they are now all facing time behind bars.”
On top of their custodial sentences, Elgaddari, Rathbone and Bamford were each ordered to pay a victim surcharge.
Detective Sergeant Tom Hall added: “This was an extensive investigation and I would like to thank all of the officers and staff involved for the dedication and commitment they have shown to bring these offenders to justice.
“We have a zero tolerance to county lines drug dealing teams and I hope that this case and the custodial sentences handed to Elgaddari, Rathbone and Bamford sends out a clear message to other potential criminals that there is no place in Warrington or anywhere else in Cheshire for illegal drugs, or those involved in them.
“While this investigation has now concluded our fight against organised criminals continues and I urge anyone with any information about suspected drug related activity in their community to get in touch. You will be listened to and we will investigate the matter.
“You can report suspected drug dealing to us directly by calling 101. Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.”