Jailed drugs boss tells police: ‘I’ll be back’

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A DAD who masterminded a drug supply gang that flooded Wearside streets with crack-cocaine has warned police “I’ll be back”.

Ian Coates, 37, issued the warning just minutes before he was jailed for seven years for his role controlling the gang, which included his own son.

Now seven men – including the father and son team – have been jailed for a total of more than 21 years after undercover officers posing as addicts smashed their drugs ring.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Coates’s team boasted to the officers about how busy they were and how widespread their operation was.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said: “They bragged about how they were covering 400 miles a day, working flat out and earning very good money.”

The court was told how the gang would use a “dirty phone” to contact Coates snr about orders they had before the Class A drugs, crack and crack-cocaine, were then supplied on.

The drugs ring operated predominantly in the Hetton and Houghton areas between February and June last year.

Undercover officers made a number of purchases from the gang, paying up to £40 each time for a gramme of cocaine.  

In total, officers handed over £1,700 for the drug, as well as crack-cocaine, as they gathered their evidence.

Finally, after Coates snr started to become suspicious of the transactions, police moved in, raiding the homes of the seven last July.

Sentencing Coates snr, judge John Milford QC said: “When you committed this offence, you were on licence for a previous matter involving the supply of Class A drugs.

“You also included your son, who was just 19 at the time.”

Coates snr, of Wordsworth Avenue West, Houghton, was sentenced to a total of seven years and eight months. Just prior to sentencing, he mouthed “I’ll be back” to detectives in the court.

Coates’s son, Gareth, 20, also of Wordsworth Avenue West, Houghton, was jailed for 32 months; Daniel Quinnell, 27, of Shakespeare Street, Houghton, and Anthony Hall, 21, of Seaham Road, Houghton, both received three years; Neville Watson, 34, of South View Terrace, Chilton Moor, was jailed for four years – the sentence included an unrelated burglary; David Rubery, 19, of Kirkstone Close, Houghton, received 18 months; while David Farrow, 19, of Market Street, Hetton, was given 18 months, suspended for two years.

All had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the supply of Class A drugs.

Following the case, Detective Inspector Mark Ord, of Northumbria Police’s Major Investigation Team, said: “This was a complex operation targeting a group of individuals who supplied both cocaine and crack cocaine in the local area.

“They supplied drugs in the community where they lived with a total disregard to the impact it might have on those around them.”