Three county lines drug dealers jailed following drugs bust
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Three gang members of the ‘Barry’ county lines team who conspired to supply class A drugs into Runcorn have been jailed.
William Ryan, Barry Kenny and Stuart Manson have been sentenced to a combined total of more than ten years in prison after their appearance at Chester Crown Court on Monday 7 November.
The trio's conviction forms part of Operation Toxic, a partnership operation with Merseyside Police targeting county lines drug dealers.
The case began on Wednesday 1 June 2022, when officers were carrying out arrest attempts at Manson’s home address on Constables Close, Runcorn, for an unrelated matter.
While at the address, they discovered a glove containing white powder and several mobile phones that were ringing continuously.
Kenny was already at the address when officers attended, and Ryan arrived whilst officers were carrying out enquiries.
Officers searched Ryan upon his arrival, and he was found in possession of six wraps of heroin, a mobile phone and a quantity of cash.
Manson, Kenny, and Ryan were subsequently arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
While the trio were held in custody, officers conducted a search at Kenny’s address on Hedge Hey, Runcorn and recovered a quantity of heroin, a number of weapons including a machete and a digital scale.
On Friday 3 June, Manson and Kenny were charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs and Ryan was released under investigation.
Further enquiries were conducted, and evidence was found that Ryan was concerned in the supply of class A drugs, so officers executed a warrant at an address on Oak Drive, Runcorn on Wednesday 29 June.
Ryan was at the address when officers seized quantities of heroin and crack cocaine during the raid.
Ryan was arrested and later charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin).
They were sentenced to – • Ryan, aged 41, of no fixed abode - jailed for three years and nine months • Kenny, aged 46, of Hedge Hey, Runcorn – jailed for three years • Manson, aged 41, of Constables Close, Runcorn – jailed for three years and seven months
The court heard how their activity was operating under a county lines drugs conspiracy.
The term used to describe how gangs export illegal drugs from urban to rural areas and use mobile phones – known in the criminal world as a graft – to send text messages – known as flares – advertising the sale of crack cocaine and heroin.
Over the course of the policing investigation the gang were found to be using around four graft phones that sent hundreds of messages to local users daily.
Police Constable Dawn Taylor, of Runcorn Local Policing Unit, said: “We were able to provide a catalogue of evidence against Ryan, Kenny and Manson in order to put them before the courts which led them to plead guilty to the offences put to them.
“Despite being released under investigation for offences initially, Ryan continued to supply drugs right up to the point of being arrested once again at the end of July.
“These men thought that they could get away with bringing crack cocaine and heroin into Runcorn but they were wrong.
“Drugs have no place on our streets and by bringing these criminals to justice and seizing large quantities of illegal substances, we have been able to intervene and stop these drugs from finding the way into the hands of vulnerable users.
“I welcome the sentences handed to Ryan, Kenny and Manson and I hope this sends a clear message that county lines activity has no place in the town.
“I want to take this opportunity to encourage the local community to keep reporting drug activity to police so that we can continue to put organised crime gangs in prison.”
If you have information relating to drug activity taking place in your community, please report it through the website or anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and Cheshire Constabulary will do the rest.