Two women involved in ferrying thousands of pounds worth of heroin and crack cocaine from Birmingham for sale to addicts in Warwick and Leamington have been remanded in custody.
Rebecca Manix and Deborah Walsh had both denied being involved in conspiracies to supply the two class A drugs in what the prosecution described as a ‘county lines’ operation.
But after just over five hours at the end of a two-and-a-half week trial, a jury at Warwick Crown Court found both women guilty of both charges by unanimous verdicts.
Manix, 46, of Morton Street, Leamington, and Walsh, 57, of Lower Avenue, Leamington, were both remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date with others who had pleaded guilty.
With them in the dock were two young men, Kyle Crossley, 18, of Pickard Street, Warwick, and Michael Hobday, 20, of Wedgnock Green, Warwick.
They were both found not guilty of the charges, which they had denied – but Crossley faces being sentenced for his part in an earlier conspiracy to supply drugs, and was granted bail.
Prosecutor Michael Shaw had told the jury: “Operation Bushey Two is the name given by Warwickshire Police to part of a bigger investigation into the supply of class A drugs from Birmingham by a group of drug dealers to Leamington and Warwick for supply.
“This particular operation has been charged as a conspiracy between a large number of people. There is a Birmingham end of it and a Warwick/Leamington end.
“It is a well-organised and highly lucrative enterprise. There were literally hundreds of packets of drugs being moved by these defendants [Manix and Walsh] and others from Birmingham to Leamington and Warwick for distribution.”
Mr Shaw said Manix was one of the organisers, together with her daughter’s partner, while Walsh was ‘one of the couriers, a driver who would drive Miss Manix to Birmingham and drive back.’
The drugs would be passed to other members of the team who would then supply them to street dealers.
“We say there was a well-organised conspiracy to supply drugs, in fact two conspiracies, one to supply heroin and one to supply cocaine,” said Mr Shaw.
He pointed out that other people, Meshach Duncan,30, of Weeford Drive, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham; Kieran Aldred,20, of St Michaels Road, Warwick; Mateusz Frasunkiewicz, 21, of Buckley Road, Leamington and Dajon Donaldson, 20, of Coniston Crescent, Great Barr, Birmingham, had pleaded guilty to the charges.
Operation Bushey One had led to the arrests of those four and others – but having been bailed, they carried on dealing using other couriers.
“At the head of this operation was Meshach Duncan who lived in Birmingham where he controlled the drugs that were supplied out to Warwickshire.
He has pleaded guilty to his part in this and in Bushey One.
“Just below him was a man called Mateusz Frasunkiewicz, known as Polish Matty, who lived at the time at the same address and Miss Manix in Buckley Road, Leamington.
“Next to him was Kieran Aldred who played a key part in the distribution of drugs to the dealers.
“Dajon Donaldson is part of the Birmingham operation. He is one of the runners for Duncan who would be sent down with drugs from Birmingham to Leamington.”
But Mr Shaw said it was normally the other way round, with couriers from Leamington and Warwick going to Birmingham to collect the drugs – until the police had begun picking them up.
Manix was involved in organising runs to Birmingham and back, while Walsh was used as a driver in her red Mazda MX5, taking Manix to Birmingham to pick up drugs and then driving back.
The conspiracy ran from February to November 2017, and Mr Shaw said: “Manix was involved through the entire period, as was her common-law son-in-law Polish Matty. Effectively the family business was the supply of class A drugs.
There were 181 runs involving Manix and Frasunkiewicz and others between Birmingham and Warwick, with Walsh being involved between March and August of that year.
On many occasions mobile phone cell site analysis showed Manix travelling from Leamington to a rendezvous in Birmingham, with Duncan being tracked to the same spot at the same time.
And ANPR cameras along the route illustrated by the cell site analysis had captured Walsh’s car making the journey.
Manix did not give evidence during the trial, but Walsh claimed their trips to Birmingham had been to go shopping, and occasionally to get drugs for themselves.
She denied knowing Duncan, and when she was asked why her phone had so many calls and messages to phones linked to him, she claimed other people must have used the phone.
Manix and Walsh will be sentenced with Duncan, Aldred, Frasunkiewicz and Donaldson, and others from Bushey One including Crossley, on a date to be fixed.
Remanding Manix and Walsh in custody, Judge Peter Cooke rejected an application for Walsh to be granted bail, commenting that she was facing a ‘substantial’ prison sentence.