A British crime lord who arranged drug deals while on his Ibiza stag do faces prison.
Carl Hannan, 34, awaits sentencing after he and six accomplices were found guilty of intent to supply cocaine and heroin across the UK in the wake of a six week trial at Teesside Crown Court.
He was accused of heading a country-wide plot involving gangs in Liverpool and Newcastle, and after co-conspirator Mark Robinson was stopped in a Ford Mondeo rental car containing heroin and cocaine 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 road trips to Liverpool to pick up consignments of drugs and was held after investigators found a kilo of heroin wrapped in kitchen paper hidden in a Ford Focus while he was behind the wheel.
And 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 Butler and Robinson’s arrests after police 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 to avoid him serving prison time.
McNally, head of the Newcastle-based cell, ran an asset recovery firm repossessing vehicles, was held after a bundle of £20,000 in cash with Hannan’s fingerprints on it was unearthed at his home.
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.
Andrew Haslam QC, prosecuting, 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 Mckenzie, who regularly changed them 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, said to be the head of the Merseyside gang; and Eric Challinor-Rankin, 29, of Liverpool, have already been jailed.
Carl and brother Stuart had earlier been accused of illegal weapons possession, including a sawn-off shotgun, during a murder trial after their cousin Lee, 29, was stabbed to death in Grangetown, Redcar.