York father and son drug dealers are tonight starting long prison sentences after police smashed a gang peddling ‘misery’ across the city.
Michael Andrew Leaf, 61, and 29-year-old James Michael Leaf both of Fairway, York, were the ring leaders of the operation.
Six accomplices were also given years behind bars at Leeds Crown Court for their part in a cocaine and cannabis drug production and supply chain in and around York.
Michael and James Leaf were found guilty of conspiring to supply a class A drug and conspiring to produce a class B drug.
Michael Leaf was sentenced to 16 years and five months imprisonment with James Leaf receiving 14 years and eight months imprisonment.
The pair were the main focus of the North Yorkshire Police’s Organised Crime Unit’s investigation named Operation Wide.
They used their legitimate building business as a front to organise the purchase, movement, storage and supply of cocaine and money between Leeds and York.
Appearing alongside them, four others were also handed lengthy prison sentences for their part in storing, running or dealing cocaine.
Niki Squire, 39, of Tennyson Avenue, York received 8 years 6 month for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine).
Andrew Bailey, 54, of Kelcbar Close, Tadcaster, received 7 years and one month for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine).
Michael Ross Clancy (no picture) of Chapmangate, Pocklington, received 7 years and one month for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine).
Gwyne Thomas Hollis of Heathcroft Crescent, Leeds was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment in his absence, for conspiring to supply class A drugs (cocaine). Hollis failed to appear at court for trial in May and remains a wanted person.
Street value of £100K
Throughout November 2018 into May 2019 Michael Leaf, James Leaf, Gwyne Hollis, Niki Squire and Andrew Bailey were in regular contact with each other, organising trips to pick up drugs from Hollis in Leeds.
They then moved them back to York for distribution by Clancy, who stored and distributed the drugs and collected drug debts for Michael and James Leaf.
The ring began to unravel in May 2019 when Squire was driving back from a drug pick up in Leeds. He was stopped by police as he joined the A1237 ring road to York.
Officers searched his vehicle and found two blocks of what was later confirmed as a kilogram of cocaine.
That had a street value of over £100,000. Other substances found in his van were used to mix with high purity cocaine.
After Squire had been arrested, the group started to dispose of and destroy phones used to arrange the drug runs, along with other evidence.
In August 2019, Michael Leaf, James Leaf, Gwyne Hollis, Michael Clancy and Andrew Bailey were arrested in connection with the supply of class A drugs. All were later charged with the offence.
Evidence uncovered by Operation Wide found Michael and James Leaf were also involved in the industrial scale growth and cultivation of cannabis.
This was carried out with two other men: 58-year-old Mark Vasey of The Plough Inn, Wakefield and Craig Michael Hazel, 57, of Lea Way, Huntington, York.
The four men attempted to establish a joint venture to grow cannabis at a vacant property in Market Weighton owned by Hazel.
The same day the Leafs were arrested in connection with the cocaine offences, a warrant was executed at the property in Market Weighton, where evidence of preparation to house a cannabis grow were found.
Vasey and Hazel were both investigated in relation to conspiracy to produce a class B drug and were subsequently charged with the offence.
Following a trial last month, they were both found guilty. They also appeared at Leeds Crown Court today (Monday, 26 June), with Mark Vasey receiving a six year eight month prison sentence and Craig Hazel being sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
The investigating officer for North Yorkshire Police was Detective Constable Neil Borchardt.
“The individuals involved acted on pure selfishness and greed and had absolutely no regard for the damage and misery class A drugs do to the community as a whole, and the people addicted to them,” he said.
“The same for Vasey and Hazel, both men thought about nothing other than lining their own pockets with their illegal activity.
“I hope the sentence handed to both Michael and James Leaf, along with Hollis, Squire, Bailey, Clancy, Vasey and Hazel sends a strong warning out to those who think they can bring drugs into York and North Yorkshire.
“Myself and my colleagues will work relentlessly to break down your operations and put you where you belong, behind bars.”
- To report suspected drug-related crime are urged to make a report via the North Yorkshire Police website or by calling 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room
[tptn_list limit=3 daily=1 hour_range=1]