A BRITISH crime lord, who arranged drug deals while on his stag-do in Ibiza, is facing prison, after planning to supply cocaine and heroin across the UK.
Carl Hannan, following a six-week trial at Teesside Crown Court, awaits sentencing after he and six accomplices were found guilty of the above offences.
The 34-year-old was accused of heading a country-wide plot, involving Liverpool and Newcastle gangs. And, after co-conspirator Mark Robinson was stopped in a Ford Mondeo rental car containing heroin and cocaine, Hannan sent a WhatsApp message which read: “They’ve been caught… with lots of stuff.”
Other members of his Middlesbrough-based crew included David Butler, 47, Robert Hutchinson, 32, Mark Robinson, 37, Simon Robinson, 33, Gordon Mackenzie, 33, and Colin McNally, 46.
The court heard that Butler made regular trips to Liverpool, by road, to pick up drug consignments. He was held after investigators found one kilo of heroin, wrapped in kitchen paper and hidden in a Ford Focus, while he was behind the wheel.
Hannan, who told detectives he sold “cars, bikes, golf clubs, laptops, iPhones… all different bits and bobs”, was recorded suggesting a plea bargain in the wake of the Butler and Robinson arrests, after police had launched a covert, surveillance operation.
He was also heard discussing the idea of getting Robinson’s brother, Simon, to shoulder the blame for incriminating phone calls. It would have meant Hannan avoiding prison.
McNally, head of the Newcastle-based cell, who ran an asset-recovery firm which repossessed vehicles, was held after a £20,000 cash bundle was unearthed at his home, carrying Hannan’s fingerprints.
The pair denied their drug-dealing roles, but five other suspects, including two from Teesside, two from Liverpool and one from Tyneside, had already pleaded guilty.
Prosecutor Andrew Haslam QC said the men ran a ring, supplying Class A drugs in Teesside and Tyneside, before confirming that Hannan orchestrated one transaction in Eston, North Yorkshire, “while on his stag-do in Ibiza”.
The lawyer added that the mob used cheap, “dirty” or “graft” phones, managed by Mackenzie, who changed them regularly to avoid detection.
Hannan was accused of being “at the very heart of this conspiracy”, since he was responsible for sourcing the drugs from Liverpool, while others delivered and stored them.
All seven men have been remanded in custody, ahead of sentencing, while two others, Ryan Maddren, 23, of Hartlepool, and Kevin McCulley, 39, of Croxteth, Liverpool, were cleared.
An additional five defendants, James Williams, 43, of Middlesbrough; Kristofer Millward, 39, of Holme House Prison; Andrew Rae, 49, of Gateshead; Paul Smith, 33, of Liverpool, and said to have headed the Merseyside gang, along with Eric Challinor-Rankin, 29, of Liverpool, have already been jailed.
Earlier, Carl and brother Stuart had been accused of illegal-weapons possession, including a sawn-off shotgun, during a murder trial, after their cousin Lee, 29, had been stabbed to death in Grangetown, Redcar.
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