A Skelmersdale drug gang have been jailed for over 23 years at Preston Crown Court for the supply of cannabis in South West Lancashire.
In total 16 members of the gang were jailed after being charged with several crimes including perverting the course of justice, money laundering and conspiracy to supply Class B (cannabis) in and around Skelmersdale in South West Lancashire.
The gang operated between January and November 2013, and were brought to court following a Lancashire Police investigation entitled Operation Viceroy.
Anthony Clark junior, who was the head of the gang, organised the operation from his prison cell.
Andrew Blaylock, who was Clark’s right-hand man, headed up the operation on the ground.
All the gang members had their individual roles in the process from growing, storing, preparing, packaging and finally the sale of the cannabis.
Brett Gerrity, senior crown prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “We have worked closely with Lancashire Police to bring a strong case against the gang, resulting in all but one of them pleading guilty to their involvement in this large-scale drugs operation.
“Police surveillance and telephone evidence proved that all members of this gang played their part.
“When Anthony Clark jnr was jailed, Andrew Blaylock stepped up to manage the buying, storage and distribution of the cannabis as instructed by Clark via phone calls from prison.
“The main offenders went to extreme lengths to cover up their involvement, when members of the gang who were lower down in the chain of command were made to confess to the police that they were responsible for possession of large amounts of cannabis, which was clearly not true.
“Sophia Lavarini, the partner of Anthony Clark jnr, has also been brought to justice for her part in laundering part of the proceeds of the gang’s operation.
“The sentence imposed upon her of 10 months’ imprisonment should serve as a warning to those who assist their partners in disposing of monies which they know was obtained from criminal activity.
“This gang has been taken off the streets of Lancashire along with a considerable amount of cannabis. Gangs and drugs are a blight on our communities and the CPS is committed to working closely with the police to bring such offenders to justice.”
Anthony Clark was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment and Andrew Blaylock was sentenced to four years and two months imprisonment, after both pleaded guilty.