Liverpool stash house raid led police to Dale Cregan associate

The criminals who stole £ 1m worth of cocaine from a Liverpool stash house sold the drugs to an associate of notorious criminal Dale Cregan.

Liverpool gangster Richard Caswell conspired with the Cox crime family to steal 30kg of cocaine from a house on Croxdale Road West. A father and son suffered serious injuries during the raid when they were slashed and beaten by Caswell, Jason and Craig Cox.

Ben Monks-Gorton played the role of delivery driver on the day of the raid, May 23, 2020. Manchester Crown Court heard how the Cox brothers began selling the stolen drugs to associates in Manchester, including a man named Leon Atkinson.

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The ECHO can reveal that Atkinson is an associate of Cregan. The ECHO understands that Cregan has been communicating with Atkinson over recent years.

Cregan, from East Manchester, murdered police officers Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32 in a gun and grenade attack which shocked the country.

Cregan also murdered David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23, as part of a gang war in East Manchester. Cregan was handed a whole life sentence in 2013. Atkinson was cleared of murdering Mark Short and three counts of attempted murder after trial.

Last month prosecutor Alex Langhorn told Manchester Crown Court how Atkinson sent one of his ‘mates’ to see Michael Nevin, who worked as a courier for the Cox brothers. After the first transaction Atkinson was back in touch and said he wanted to buy more cocaine.

This led to a second meeting, near the Etihad stadium. The criminals involved, who used the Encrochat phone network, created the password ‘Manchester City’ for the transaction.

Police exposed the stash house plot as a result of Operation Venetic, which penetrated the EncroChat phone network used by Caswell and the Cox brothers.

Monks-Gorton, 30, who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit to robbery, was jailed for six years and nine months. Nevin, 35, who worked as a courier for the Cox gang, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to possess criminal property.

Nevin, who was not involved in the raid at the stash house, was jailed for nine years and nine months. Caswell will be sentenced with Jason Cox, Craig Cox, Lee Cox later this month. The four men have pleaded guilty to drug offenses and possessing criminal property.

Atkinson is set to be sentenced tomorrow (Monday) at Manchester Crown Court for drug offenses and money laundering.

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