Two brothers were the mainstream suppliers of drugs to two well-known gangs in Warrington that saw 186kg of cocaine being seized by police in Cheshire.
Alan, 51, and John Tobin, 40, were supplying huge amounts of cocaine to Anthony Cullen, 33, and 30-year-old Jamie Oldroyd’s organised crime gangs.
They also instructed Jamie Simpson, 33, to deliver £20million of cocaine on their behalf from Kent to Warrington.
John Tobin’s DNA was found deposited on the bubble wrap of one of the drug blocks he watched being placed into boxes during the packing process – this was crucial in connecting him to the conspiracy.
The brothers were today (Tuesday 20 April) sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court alongside their associates Robbie Broughton, Brian McQuillan and Simon Leech.
Alan Tobin was sentenced to 20 years and his brother John received a 19 years and eight month sentence.
Broughton was jailed for eight years and six months, McQuillan six years and four months and Leech eight years.
Detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) seized the drugs on the M6 motorway on 2 August 2018 during an operation in which Simpson had been under surveillance.
The brothers also sold cannabis, heroin, ketamine and cocaine to other gangs in Scotland, London, North Wales, Cornwall, West Yorkshire, Cumbria, Manchester and Humberside.
While Alan and John were in command of the criminal enterprise, they required the assistance of Broughton, Leech and McQuillan to do the day-to-day running of their business.
In order to distance themselves from having links to organised crime, they recruited 29-year-old Leech to act as a conduit, to minimise any direct contact made to them.
Broughton’s role, predominantly, was to collect cash from the organised crime leaders who had been supplied drugs by the Tobins. However, the 38-year-old also enforced debts and made threats on their behalf and informed the brothers of problems that were arising.
Their large-scale commodity meant 51-year-old McQuillan was responsible for couriering large amounts of cash across the United Kingdom.
The pair were ultimately running a smooth, and successfully profitable, criminal organisation until detectives from SOCU began three operations into their customers from 2016 to 2018. This involved targeting Lee Stoba, aged 47, Anthony Cullen and Jamie Oldroyd – codenamed Operation Bullfight, Operation Samurai and Operation Dreadnought respectively.
During the course of the operation detectives witnessed John Tobin meeting with Cullen, Broughton and Robert Bibby at a countryside café, where they discussed the supply of drugs.
Alan Tobin was also observed meeting with Jamie Oldroyd and Jamie Simpson at a café in Warrington to talk over the onward supply of class A drugs to organised crime gangs in Carlisle, Liverpool, Scunthorpe and Sussex.
The operations led to large amounts of drugs and money being seized by police and resulted in debts owed to the Tobin brothers that were too big for the day-to-day employees to deal with.
This led to the Tobins having to become more hands on and, on one occasion, Alan was seen meeting with Cullen at a pub car park in Warrington where a heated argument took place between them.
Their criminality drew to a close on Wednesday 9 September 2020 after detectives executed a number of warrants in Widnes, Warrington and St Helens. All of the men were arrested and subsequently charged.
Speaking after the five men pleaded guilty to all the offences:
Detective Chief Inspector Mike Evans, from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “Taking down the mainstream supplier of drugs to three big organised crime groups operating in Warrington was the final piece of the jigsaw.
“The brothers sat at the very top of the chain. They were provided with greater protection to prevent them from being identified as leaders of the organised crime group. At first they sat back and reaped the rewards of their criminality by displaying a lavish lifestyle while employing Broughton, Leech and McQuillan to run the business.
“For a while their criminal enterprise was seen to be getting bigger and bigger until we began running a number of operations on the gangs they were supplying drugs to.
“Once we started seizing large quantities of drugs and cash, problems arose, and the Tobin’s soon began to surface, as huge debts were owed. The colossal seizure of 186kg of cocaine saw their reputation ruined.
“The investigation team has worked relentlessly to collate evidence that shows the brothers’ involvement in these conspiracies over a period of up to nine years. Their hard work and determination has paid dividends and resulted in five guilty pleas and justice finally catching up with them all.”