Undercover police surveillance led to a conspiracy to ferry dangerous class A drugs from Merseyside into Deeside being smashed.
Police kept watch as suppliers met to do deals, a court heard.
When two were stopped by police they believed it was just a routine stop – and one of them Brett Cowell carried on unaware that his Flintshire home was being watched.
Officers saw people going to his home and getting drugs from a secret stash – a hole covered by a grill.
At the home of another conspirator, Michael Harrison, police found extra security measures included an internal bolted door and a stair gate operated from upstairs.
Three men were all jailed at Mold Crown Court today after they admitted conspiring to supply both heroin and crack cocaine.
Harrison, 48, a motor trader from William Wall Road, Litherland, Merseyside, was jailed for five years and seven months.
Cowell, 30, of Prince’s Road in Connah’s Quay, received a three year nine month sentence.
Daniel Jackson, 30, of Brookside Avenue in Connah’s Quay, who was Cowell’s chauffer, was jailed for two years.
Judge Niclas Parry said the three and others conspired together to bring heroin and crack cocaine, the most harmful drug, to “poison communities” in North Wales.
“This is a classic example of a case where county lines and boundaries mean nothing,” he said.
It was only possible where planning, collusion and work between criminals in different parts of the country took place.
“This has become a significant problem in North Wales,” Judge Parry said.
It was “a significant conspiracy” he said, with significant security, planning and sophistication. Others were clearly involved but they were unknown.
The judge said Harrison played a leading role in bringing drugs from Merseyside into North Wales repeatedly in a high value Mercedes and a Jaguar. It was being carried out on a commercial scale.
He made the journey four times in a month and there would have been a fifth, but for his arrest.
Harrison had links to those above him who could supply significant amounts of drugs and he would have made significant financial gain.
Judge Parry warned that if he was higher up the chain, then his sentence would have been closer to 10 years.
Cowell, he said, played a significant role, in supplying the drugs in North Wales.
He met Harrison regularly to buy the drugs and to sell on in Deeside.
Cowell involved others and recruited a driver.
Judge Parry said Jackson was “the servant” for Cowell who drove him to collect the drugs but he was “an important cog in the wheel”.
His involvement made it more difficult to detect and arrest Cowell, said the judge.
Judge Parry made a forfeiture order in respect of cash seized by police along with Harrison’s green Jaguar car.
A Mercedes people carrier which had also been used was not traced.
Prosecutor David Mainstone said in August police were authorised to carry out surveillance on Cowell and they watched in September as he travelled to Childer Thornton, to Starbucks at Bromborough and a Tesco Express at Ellesmere Port, driven by Jackson, for meetings with Harrison.
Cowell and Jackson were stopped by police at Queensferry when 150 £10 wraps of crack cocaine and 50 wraps of heroin were found. They had a street value of some £2,000.
They were bailed and Cowell, who believed it was a routine stop, continued to deal drugs from his home not realising that police were watching.
Harrison was stopped in October when he travelled to Deeside and heroin and crack cocaine valued at £2,400 were contained in a black sock in the fuel cap.
Cowell had travelled by taxi to Morrison’s in Connah’s Quay at about the same time and he was stopped and searched and found to have about £1,700 on him.
It was the prosecution case that they intended to meet, said Mr Mainstone.
Frances Willmott, for Harrison, said there were clearly others above him.
His convictions were limited and old and he had vowed ”never again”.
Robin Boag, for Cowell, said to some extent pressure had been placed on his client to become involved but he accepted that he continued to deal in drugs.
He had a serious heart condition which made custody difficult.
Myles Wilson, for Jackson, who had been friends with Cowell since school days, said he played a lesser role as Cowell’s driver.
He stupidly agreed to do it, was not being paid any money but received some cannabis.
In December they all admitted a conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine, class A drugs, between September 10 and October 13 in Flintshire.
Harrison and Cowell also admitted that on October 12 they possessed cash knowing it represented the proceeds of criminal property.
After the sentencing hearing Det Insp Mark Hughes from North Wales Police said: “This was part of an ongoing effort under our Operation Scorpion county lines led policing strategy to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs into Deeside and to bring the criminals behind this trade to justice.
”Today’s sentencing will see three more drug offenders off our streets and sends a clear message to those bringing drugs into our area that North Wales Police will put them before the courts and, like Harrison, Cowell and Jackson, they are likely to end up behind bars.”