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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Ian and Jason Fitzgibbon facing jail over £7m drug smuggling

22:57 |

Key members of Liverpool’s notorious Fitzgibbon crime family today faced lengthy jail terms over an international plot to flood Merseyside with super-strength heroin. Drug lords Jason and Ian Fitzgibbon were behind a lucrative plan to import 57kg of the class  A drug from Turkey.  But their scheme was foiled after Turkish police smashed a drugs racket in Istanbul – with the  trail leading back to Liverpool. Jason, 40, and Ian, 39, appeared at Manchester crown court for sentencing, along with their mum Christine, 52, who admitted laundering drug cash found  hidden in her Mossley Hill home.

Ian also admitted an £800k plot to flood Merseyside with 168,000 ecstasy tablets. Paul Mitchell, prosecuting, said: "The drug dealing involved huge quantities of both heroin and Ecstasy.  "It involved the importation of multi kilogram quantities of the drugs into this country and then the onward supply of those drugs.

 The scope of the enterprise was truly breathtaking. " Those involved had established criminal networks not only in the United Kingdom but in foreign countries including Turkey, from where they were obtaining massive quantities of heroin.  "Huge quantities of money were generated by this activity and substantial sums were discovered secreted by the criminal group when their homes were searched.  There is also evidence of criminal money being moved around the country by the group as well as being sent abroad by them." The court this morning heard that the 60%-pure heroin would have cost around 300,000 euros to buy wholesale from Turkey but generate almost £7m at street value.

Intelligence from England to the Turkish gendarmerie stopped the deal in its tracks and on  September 26, 2011, five local drug traffickers were rounded up. In the boot of a car officers discovered 114 half kilo packs of heroin wrapped in brown tape. Fitzgibbon and his sidekick Danny Smith were booked to fly from Manchester to Zurich and  then on to Istanbul.    A return by the same route was booked and paid for – but neither man returned on that  flight.    Instead, Fitzgibbon bought a return flight on Turkish Airlines at the airport on  July 10, paying  cash.

The court heard how there were two Western Union money transfers sent from Liverpool to  one of the Turks later caught red handed with the heroin.   The aftermath of the failed drug deal in Turkey was recorded in part by a covert listening  device.   On October 6, Ian Fitzgibbon was recorded remarking: “That’s the story of Jason’s life, that  Turkey thing.  Three hundred quid…three hundred quid they owe us.”  Police say ‘quid’ was a codeword for ‘thousand’, and 300,000 euros was the wholesale cost  of the heroin.

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