Eighth person sentenced in North East Class A drug ring

Nathan Houghton was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, (January 5).

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After more than four years after admitting his role in a lucrative Class A drugs ring, a cocaine courier has been jailed.

At Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday (January 5), Nathan Houghton was sentenced for helping a shady network to supply illicit drugs during the Coronavirus pandemic, during the lockdown between March and July 2020.

Houghton was one of a group of 12 caught by police during a surveillance operation which saw their encrypted messages infiltrated.

Numerous properties were raided across Northumberland, Newcastle and Durham and police recovered three kilos of cocaine with a street value of £135,000 and £260,000 of suspected criminal cash.

Following a comprehensive investigation, seven out of the 12 were jailed for a combined total of more than 40 years at Newcastle Crown Court in December 2022.

25-year-old Houghton of Wakenshaw Drive, Newton Aycliffe was sentenced to 49 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug. Four further men are due to be sentenced later this year.

After the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Marc Michael from the Force’s Crime Department said:  “I am pleased that the court continues to recognise the harm this organised crime group poses to our communities through selling illegal, class A drugs.

“Houghton may not have been the main player in this operation but he was happy to be a part of it, delivering drugs and cash to various locations and being paid for this so-called work.

“He initially denied his involvement in police interview but then admitted his guilt in court and I am pleased he is now behind bars – like the rest of his associates.

“Drugs like cocaine have no place in our communities and anyone involved in its storage, supply or distribution will continue to be pursued under the banner of Operation Sentinel – our dedicated initiative to tackling Serious and Organised Crime.”

Those previously jailed are; Liam Pow, 34, of Wreay Walk in Cramlington who was jailed for 15 years and four months. Scott Ridley, 32, of Walkerfield Court in Newcastle, who was jailed for nine years and four months.

Tiffany Day, 30 also of Walker Field court denied her involvement but was found guilty and jailed for three years. Christopher Phillips, 30, of Clapham Avenue in Newcastle was jailed for four years and six months.

Alexander Peter James Bales, 25 of Ida Place in Newton Aycliffe was jailed for four years and nine months. Jace Michael Farrell, 26 of Phoenix Place in Newton Aycliffe was jailed for four years and nine months. David Storey, 29 of Welbeck Road, Walker was jailed for five years and one month.

If you would like to report any suspicious behaviour, please visit the Northumbria Police website and use the Tell Us Something page.

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