Yesterday (Thursday 14 December), the final member of a local organised crime that controlled a large-scale drugs operation in Manchester has been sentenced and ordered to attend a 10-day rehabilitation programme.
Headed by Aaron Wright, the gang distributed class A drugs across the region, making thousands of pounds in ill-gotten gains at the expense of vulnerable people.
Despite Wright attempting to flee the country to avoid arrest in 2020, GMP got to him before his flight. He was arrested in the terminal before boarding a plane to Dubai and he will now be spending in his days in prison rather than poolside.
Each of the following were jailed earlier this year:
Aaron wright (14/05/1986) was jailed for 13 years and six months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
Kurt Jervis (05/06/1985) was jailed for nine years and four months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
Colin Pollitt (09/01/1981) was jailed for two years and three months after he pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
Tina Forrest (08/03/1984) received an 18-month suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
Cameron Phillips (05/05/1988), the last member of the gang to be sentenced, was given a 21-month suspended sentence and will have to attend a 10-day rehabilitation programme.
In April 2023, two brothers were jailed for a collective 18 years for their involvement. Owen Trainor (17/11/1981) was jailed for 11 years and eight months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to conceal criminal property. His brother Niall Trainor (13/06/1990) was jailed for six years and four months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, conspiracy to conceal criminal property, and possession with intent to supply class B drugs.
In June 2022 Stephen Trainor (15/02/1962) was sentenced to a community order for two years after he pleaded guilty to permitting premises to be used for the supply of class A drugs.
Key to this investigation was the use of encrypted mobile phones.
This fell under Operation Venetic, which was a nationwide crackdown led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into the communications platform EncroChat; the UK’s biggest ever law enforcement operation.
Analysis of their phones showed they each had their role to play in this criminal enterprise. Wright was the head of the gang, responsible for directing the entire operation, making sure the drugs were delivered and paid for. Trainor worked underneath Wright, instructing others below him. Jervis was the trusted courier, running drugs across the country and making sure debts were paid. Pollitt and Forrest were small-time associates of Jervis.
During a period of March 2020 until July 2020, the crucial phone evidence detailed their entire operation, showing the gang swapping hundreds of pictures of large sums of cash and drugs and discussing known associates who’d been arrested.
In one exchange, Jervis sent images to Wright of almost £250k. This was just a small portion of the profits this gang were turning over on a daily basis.
Following weeks of surveillance and trawling through thousands of incriminating messages, specialist detectives from GMP Serious Organised Crime Group had the evidence to execute a number of warrants and arrest those involved.
On 10 June 2020, despite best efforts to stop police gaining entry, Niall Trainor was arrested along with his father, Stephen Trainor, at Stephen’s house. A subsequent search of his address revealed almost 2kg of cocaine, and numerous items associated with drug dealing, including scales and bags used for packaging up cocaine.
On 30 June 2020 Pollitt and Forrest were stopped in a vehicle by police after being observed meeting with Kurt Jervis. A subsequent search of the car revealed a small quantity of cocaine which resulted in both their arrests.
On Sunday 5 July, Wright was arrested at Manchester Airport as he tried to board a flight to Dubai… Police seized thousands of pounds worth of cash and took him on a one-way trip to custody.
A warrant at his house later that evening provided police with more evidence linking him to the operation. £4000 cash was seized along with numerous items of expensive jewellery and clothing.
That same day, Jervis was arrested at his home address. As officers surrounded the address, they noticed a mobile phone flying through the air into the neighbour’s garden. Despite Jervis’s feeble attempt to destroy evidence, the phone was seized, and he was arrested. During a search of his address, officers uncovered thousands of pounds worth of cash and a number of wraps of cocaine.
This week, the complex and longstanding case has come to an end with the gang jailed for a collective 43 years.
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Kennedy, from GMP Serious Organised Crime Group team, said: “This group, like many criminals before them, thought they were hiding behind a secure communications system. Instead, they created their own evidence trail that has led them straight to jail.
“I’m glad to see them all paying the price for their crimes. Many of them are going to spend a long time in prison, worlds away from their flashy lifestyle and expensive goods they bought from the proceeds of crime.
“By dismantling this gang and their operation, GMP and its partners have taken further strides to protect the public. But we need communities to keep talking to us and sharing intelligence. If you suspect any criminal activity, report it so we can act.”