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Drug Kingpin Freed During 22-Year Sentence Is Caught Dealing Again

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Drug Kingpin Freed During 22-Year Sentence Is Caught Dealing Again

A drug kingpin has been thrown back in prison just months after being released.

Michael Hailwood, from Liverpool, was sentenced to 22 years behind bars in 2010 for heading up a major international drugs operation in the Netherlands.

However, after being released in 2019, having served less than a decade of his sentence, he has now returned to prison.

The 51-year-old was sentenced to 16 years after detectives caught him with a raft of new offences in the UK.

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After being released, Hailwood used his connections in South America to encourage dealers to work with him.

It wasn't long before he was back working with a gang in Merseyside, running the drug scene in Ellesmere Port and across Cheshire.

Like many others, Hailwood and his associates used the secret mobile encryption service, commonly known as Encrochat, to evade detection.

Michael Hailwood was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Credit: Reach
Michael Hailwood was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Credit: Reach
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Hailwood obtained a device that operated under the codename CardinalTrunk to carry out his nefarious deeds.

However police eventually became aware of this, and Hailwood was arrested once again in June 2020.

Following a hearing at Chester Crown Court, Hailwood was sentenced to 16 years in prison, having admitted conspiracies to supply cocaine and heroin.

During the sentencing, Judge Steven Everett told him that should he commit further serious drugs offences when he is released once again, he may never be released.

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Having previously been jailed in the Netherlands, Hailwood has long been a major player on the drug scene.

While based in Amsterdam, he led operations for a drug trafficking gang in the north-west of England.

His role was to chaperone drug mules across Europe and drive cars filled with drugs.

Hailwood was previously sentenced to 22 years behind bars for drug trafficking. Credit: Reach
Hailwood was previously sentenced to 22 years behind bars for drug trafficking. Credit: Reach
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But things came crashing down for him following a 2006 investigation by Lancashire Police’s Operation Greengage, which monitored the gang's dealings, including the smuggling of £10m of cocaine into the UK.

At the time, he was also being followed by the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency.

In August 2008, after having served part of a 30-month sentence for drugs offences in the Netherlands, Hailwood was stopped by Dutch police while driving one of the gang’s cars.

The car was seized and searched by police in Lancashire, who found one pellet of cocaine.

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Hailwood was charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

As well as Hailwood receiving 22 years behind bars, other criminals involved in the case were handed a combined sentence of 300 years.

Featured Image Credit: Reach

Topics: Crime, Drugs, UK News

Dominic Smithers
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