Tyneside drugs gang put behind bars as kingpin get 15 years in jail

Adam Oakley, who admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin
-Credit: (Image: North East Regional Organised Crime Unit)

A Tyneside drugs gang kingpin has been put behind bars for 15 years.

Adam Oakley was the leader of a large-scale and lucrative cocaine and heroin distribution network which saw up to 14kg of cocaine and £600,000 being seized. It is not the first time the 39-year-old has been involved in drugs trafficking.

He had three previous convictions for class A drug dealing, including in 2008 and 2012 and in 2015 he got 10 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis. Oakley, who was under covert surveillance, was caught after his associates, Rebecca Rowley and Samantha Tait, were caught on a cocaine deal in Cumbria.

Oakley, of no fixed address, was in charge of the organised crime group and convicted killer driver Richard Elmore, 43, of Front Street, Tynemouth, had a management role in the chain. Callum Craggs, 28, of Irthing Avenue, Walker, Newcastle, a trusted associate of Oakley, sourced high-end vehicles for Oakley and on six occasions collected and transported large amounts of cash.

On Wednesday, all three men appeared for sentence at Newcastle Crown Court, via link from HMP Durham. Oakley and Elmore was sentenced for conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin between February and June 2022. Craggs was sentenced for money laundering and had pleaded guilty on the basis he didn't know the extent of the offending.

Callum Craggs, who admitted money laundering
Callum Craggs, who admitted money laundering -Credit:Northumbria Police

Police seized a £50,000 Audi RS4 and a Land Rover Discovery from Craggs' home which had been obtained on lease with Oakley financing them. He was also shown to have Googled things about the police potentially tracking him. Elmore had four previous convictions, including for causing death by careless driving in 2019 while Craggs had 12 previous convictions.

At a previous hearing, Fiona Lamb, defending Oakley, said: "I don't seek to try to diminish his role in this organisation, he has been very frank about his role in it. He has three children, he was a family man and had full contact with all of his children and now has a grandchild and another on the way. He regrets that he has yet again become involved in this type of criminality, not only for himself but for his family who it will affect for years to come."

Richard Elmore, who admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin
Richard Elmore, who admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin -Credit:Northumbria Police

Adam Birkby, for Elmore, said a head injury makes him vulnerable to exploitation, he was addicted to the drugs that were being supplied and did not live a life of luxury. He added that he was remorseful.

Jonathan Crawford, for Craggs, said he had not paid the full value of the cars by the time he was arrested and that they were financed by Oakley. He added that he hoped to return to work as a car mechanic in due course.

Sentencing the trio, Judge Stephen Earl jailed Oakley for 15 years and made him subject of a five year serious crime prevention order, which will begin upon his release from prison. The court heard he had been arrested at Glasgow Airport after flying in from Mexico. Elmore was jailed for six years, and Craggs was jailed for 41 months.

Last month, Rowley, 30, of Falmouth Road, North Shields and Tait, 33, of Greenlea, North Shields, pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine and were each jailed for 32 months.