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Merseyside drug dealers who got in too deep

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 20/12/2020 Neil Docking

Getting involved in the illegal trade of dealing drugs can often have disastrous consequences.

Time and time again, Liverpool Crown Court hears about addicts who have turned to selling drugs to feed their own habits.

However, in many cases career criminals are simply attracted to the profits that can be made from exploiting other people's misery.

This inevitably results in a criminal conviction, and, when selling Class A drugs like cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, long prison sentences.

But there can be worse ramifications than jail, including suffering violence, degradation and in some instances, families being torn apart.

Those lower down in the chain - particularly people in debt to suppliers - are sometimes leaned on to stash or produce drugs in their own homes.

And they may even be persuaded that the only way to clean the slate is to also store deadly guns and ammunition within their property.

Here are seven drug dealers who got in too deep and whose lives were changed.

The man who tried to swallow 20 bags of heroin

a man looking at the camera: David Edwards is already serving a prison sentence © Cheshire Police David Edwards is already serving a prison sentence

David Edwards tried to swallow up to 20 bags of heroin when he was caught red-handed by the police.

The 23-year-old, and fellow addict Sharon Cooper, 46, were transporting drugs across Merseyside.

Cooper, a mum-of-two, of Deepdale, Widnes, was coerced into driving a car by a man with Edwards, of no fixed address, in exchange for drugs.

Edwards, who was already serving a sentence of three years and four months imposed in April last year for trying to rob three shops, was told he must carry drugs around in the vehicle because of debts he'd run up from buying cocaine.

The pair were stopped by police with scales, £763 in cash, one wrap of crack cocaine and 20 wraps of heroin in a car in Widnes on December 23, 2018.

As officers approached them, Edwards panicked and tried to swallow the drugs, but police managed to stop him and Cooper confessed to her role.

Edwards, who admitted possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply was jailed for two years and four months, consecutive to his existing sentence.

Cooper, who admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine, was handed 23 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, and a drug rehabilitation requirement.

The drug dealing gun minder who called the police... on himself

a man looking at the camera: Carl Mercer, 46, of Longfield Road, Bootle © Liverpool Echo Carl Mercer, 46, of Longfield Road, Bootle

Carl Mercer had a semi-automatic pistol in his kitchen drawer but rang 999 to report himself to the police.

He told the operator he was under threat from people making him deal drugs and gave the address of his Bootle home.

When officers arrived he begged to be arrested and produced a small bag of heroin to convince them to put him in their car.

Police entered the 46-year-old's property in Longfield Road on November 3 last year and found 669g of cannabis worth £6,791.

Officers then seized the working Slovakian Grand Power K100 semi-automatic pistol, plus 29 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

a gun on a table: The Grand Power K100 pistol found in Carl Mercer's kitchen drawer © Liverpool Echo The Grand Power K100 pistol found in Carl Mercer's kitchen drawer

Mercer said he owed his dealers a large amount of money so they made him deal the drugs and mind the firearm and ammo.

He admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition, possessing cannabis with intent to supply, and possessing heroin.

Mercer was jailed for five years and one month in 2016 for dealing cocaine, heroin and cannabis, producing cannabis and abstracting electricity.

He was part of a gang whose drug network across the Southport, Seaforth and Waterloo areas was infiltrated by undercover police.

Given the fact that he called the police on himself, Judge Andrew Menary, QC, accepted he was likely a "custodian" of the weapon.

He jailed him for six years.

The teenager caught flushing his stash down the toilet

Drug dealer Liam Malvern was caught trying to flush crack cocaine down a toilet when police raided a house.

The 19-year-old was found sitting on a toilet with his trousers by his ankles when officers gained entry to a property in Warrington.

They believed he was disposing of drugs during the raid in Watkin Street, Orford and £200 was recovered from his trouser pocket.

Police also seized two mobile phones, a debt list found on the kitchen worktop with handwritten names and amounts, and two train tickets.

After examining the phones, officers uncovered Malvern had been visiting the address on a regular basis and offering drugs to users.

Malvern, from Dam Wood Road in Speke, was jailed for three and a half years after admitting being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine.

Detective Sergeant Tom Hall, from Cheshire Police, said: "Malvern had only just been released from prison after admitting supplying heroin and crack cocaine when he was caught once again by my team.

"He thought he could flush away the drugs and no police action would be taken, however he has learnt it isn't as easy as that."

The dealer locked in a cannabis farm "living off noodles and biscuits"

a blurry photo of a man: Nathan Hakaim was compared by his own lawyer to sycophantic Gareth from The Office © Liverpool Echo Nathan Hakaim was compared by his own lawyer to sycophantic Gareth from The Office

Nathan Hakaim moaned that he was left trapped in a £500,000 cannabis factory by ruthless drug bosses.

Police arrested him when they raided a Wirral warehouse containing 437 cannabis plants and "sophisticated" growing equipment.

When shown photos of the huge farm - initially valued by police at £1.7m - he told officers: "It's a shame that it's going to go to waste."

But he later whinged that he was mistreated by those above him and left without a working shower, "living off noodles and biscuits".

His defence lawyer likened him to "sycophantic" Gareth Keenan, the paper salesman in Ricky Gervais' classic comedy The Office.

Police raided the building in Cleveland Street, Birkenhead and found Hakaim at around 10am, on Monday, November 18 last year.

The 32-year-old, who claimed to have been paid a pittance, was on bail at the time, having previously been caught with drugs in Wirral.

Police arrested Hakaim and another man in a Ford Focus in Cathcart Street, Birkenhead, at around 9.30pm, on July 18 last year.

Hakaim, of Gleneagles Avenue, Leicester, was driving around with £230 of cannabis cuttings and £2,160 of mature plants.

He admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply and production of cannabis and was jailed for three and a half years.

The man roped into a multi-million pound cocaine and heroin plot by his twin brother

a man looking at the camera: Paul Graney, 35, of Snowdon Lane, Vauxhall, © Liverpool Echo Paul Graney, 35, of Snowdon Lane, Vauxhall,

Fugitive drug dealer Paul Graney partied in Las Vegas then fled to Amsterdam to escape arrest.

He worked for a multi-million pound cocaine and heroin gang led by Michael Barlow, who gifted dirty cash to churches and community projects.

Barlow enjoyed luxury holidays, yet also made donations to St Francis Xavier and St Peter's Catholic churches and Shrewsbury House youth club in Everton.

Police filmed his gang in a luxury apartment turned drugs factory, and listened to him brag in his BMW: "We're up to our eyebrows. We're swimming in gear."

Prosecutors accepted that Barlow's right hand man Joseph Graney roped his "identical twin brother" Paul Graney into their cross country drugs network.

Barlow, then 34, Joseph Graney, then 31, and trusted subordinate Alan Foster, then 43, were arrested following raids in July 2016, and jailed that November.

Paul Graney, 35, of Snowdon Lane, Vauxhall, escaped the clutches of police as he left for Amsterdam on June 24, 2016, where he remained for four years.

While in Holland he was jailed for 21 months for drug smuggling, possessing a false travel document - his brother's passport - and money laundering, in 2019.

However, he was only extradited to the UK last month, after Dutch judges initially refused to send him back because of then "squalid" conditions at Walton jail.

Paul Graney admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin between May and November 2015.

He was jailed for 10 years.

The desperate dealer who smashed a glass jar full of crack over a police officer's head

a close up of a man looking at the camera: Eric Bromilow, 30, of Wakefield Drive, Leasowe © Liverpool Echo Eric Bromilow, 30, of Wakefield Drive, Leasowe

Eric Bromilow smashed a glass jar full of crack cocaine and heroin over a police officer's head - splitting his head open.

The drug dealer was spotted riding an electric bike along a Wirral street while wearing a black balaclava and gloves.

Officers cornered him by some bushes, where he had stashed hundreds of wraps of drugs, totalling nearly 900g.

But he used the jar to strike one officer in the temple, inflicting a wound which poured blood and required three stitches.

After the jar broke and wraps fell to the ground, the 30-year-old repeatedly punched the victim, on Friday, May 1 this year.

He then fought with a second officer - punching his left hand and breaking his index finger - at around 2.40pm, in Leasowe.

Police seized a total of 679g of heroin and 188g of cocaine belonging to the dad-of-two, who has nine previous convictions for 13 offences.

Bromilow, of Wakefield Drive, Leasowe, admitted possessing crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply, and two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm against both victims.

He was jailed for six and a half years.

The dad-of-three who stashed £90k of drugs in his family home and had his kids taken away

a man looking at the camera: Gary McKeown, 27, of Central Way, Speke © Liverpool Echo Gary McKeown, 27, of Central Way, Speke

A dad-of-three who left a stolen scooter in his front garden had stashed a sawn-off-shotgun, ammunition and nearly £90,000 worth of drugs in his young family's home.

Gary McKeown, 27, also cut up and bagged heroin, cocaine and ketamine in the same address where his three little children lived.

Police found a double-barrelled shotgun with 26 cartridges, plus 30 rifle bullets in the house in Central Way, Speke.

After the discovery, McKeown and his wife were arrested and charged and social services took away their children.

a pile of luggage sitting on top of a suitcase: Some of the drugs Gary McKeown, 27, stored in his family's home in Central Way, Speke © Liverpool Echo Some of the drugs Gary McKeown, 27, stored in his family's home in Central Way, Speke

McKeown admitted possessing the drugs with intent to supply, possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing ammunition without a certificate, and handling stolen goods.

He admitted the charges on the basis that charges against his wife were dropped, which the Crown accepted.

He has a string of convictions for possessing drugs and was locked up for 22 months in 2013 for possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

McKeown was jailed for eight and a half years.

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