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coke conspiracy Drug kingpin released halfway through 22-year jail sentence is back behind bars

Michael Hailwood had been released at the end of 2019, having originally been arrested for his role in a £10 million cocaine smuggling plot

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Michael Hailwood (51)

Michael Hailwood (51)

Michael Hailwood (51)

A man described as a “drugs kingpin”, who had been handed down a 22-year jail sentence for overseeing a cocaine smuggling plot, is back behind bars after admitting to conspiracy to supply coke and heroin. 

Michael Hailwood (51) had been released at the end of 2019, having originally been arrested in August 2008 for his role in a £10 million cocaine smuggling plot that he operated from his base in Amsterdam.

However, just months after being released from jail he got involved in the EncroChat underworld where he obtained a device that operated under the codename CardinalTrunk.

He linked up with a Merseyside operation that was running the drugs trade in Ellesmere Port and had established itself in other parts of Cheshire.

When a joint French and Dutch investigation crippled that network in April 2020, Hailwood was one of hundreds of users linked to Merseyside and Cheshire Police were able to unmask CardinalTrunk as Hailwood.

He was arrested in June 2020, just months after his release and remanded in custody, ahead of a hearing last Friday when he was sentenced to 16 years at Chester Crown Court after admitting conspiracies to supply cocaine and heroin.

Judge Steven Everett told him he may never be released should he commit further serious drugs offences when his term eventually ends.

Following the hearing, Detective Sergeant Ian Watson, of Cheshire Police, said: “This is a case that sends the message to criminals that they should not feel safe when they operate in Cheshire.

“Whatever level you operate at - be it street level, middle ranking or top tier, at some point you are going to come to our attention and we will, where warranted, focus our attention on you and take you out. This is exactly what we have done with Michael Hailwood.”

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