An illegal drug kingpin known as El Shepo, who managed his organised crime network using Citroen Berlingo vans, has been sentenced.
Ian Shepherd, 44, is After leading a nationwide drug ring that supplied heroin and cocaine, this week he was sentenced today to 25 years in prison ‘on a commercial scale’All over Great Britain
Manchester Crown Court heard that the organised crime group was based in Kirkby, Merseyside and was involved in ‘significant meetings and exchanges’ at locations including Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Glasgow, London and Salford Quays.
According to the report, regular activity was also found in Manchester, Chester and Trafford. Manchester Evening News.
Shephard was the leader of the group, as was John Burkquest (37), who was arrested in August 2013.
Shepherd used a Citroen Berlingo as a means to travel between deals. He also wore a high-visibility vest in order to appear to be a tradesman.
After Shepherd placed the van up for sale, Shepherd purchased it from an undercover officer and discovered that he was hiding large quantities of drugs in a rear compartment.
Only an adaptable wheel trim removal tool was able to access the hidden space.
Shepherd was finally caught in July 2019. A search of Shepherd’s mother-in law’s home revealed cocaine and a firearm that were confirmed to match his DNA.
The court heard the cocaine was estimated to have a street value of around £1,613.
Peter Hunter, defending, stated that Shepherd, a father of three, was involved in organised crime to help pay for a house for his children.
The court heard Mr. Hunter say: “He wants to apologise and show remorse.
“He wants there to be no excuses and he doesn’t want to blame others, but he knows he’s made a huge, huge mistake.”
Judge Anthony Cross, QC stated that there had been ‘tell-tale’Signs that Shepherd played a major role in the drug gang.
“It is accepted that that group was led by you,”Judge Cross spoke.
“It was involved in the supply of cocaine and heroin on a commercial scale throughout the United Kingdom.
“It was truly the work of an organised crime group operating on a national scale.”
Ian Shepherd finally pleaded guilty two counts of conspiracy for a controlled drug Class A, conspiracy in possession of a prohibited weapon, and three counts possessing a prohibited weapon.
He also pleaded guilty for possessing a prohibited smoothbore gun, possessing ammunition with no firearm certificate, as well as possessing explosives.
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