The alleged leader of a drugs gang texted an associate ‘game over g!’ as police uncovered guns and grenades during dramatic swoops at a block of flats in Stretford last year, a jury has been told.
Nathan Morgan, 37, was said to have become ‘increasingly concerned and paranoid’ as a police operation continued around the flat where he lived which was said to be the hub of a cocaine and heroin supply operation.
Police made three ‘significant’ seizures during a series of raids in Stretford, on January 29 last year, the court heard. About 400 residents were evacuated during the operation.
First officers found a gun and two hand-grenades in a storage cupboard of a neighboring flat at Milton Close, a block of flats in Gorse Hill.
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Police made their second significant seizure when undercover cops followed another alleged member of the gang, Graham Wellings, 56, and found two other grenades in his backpack as he cycled through Stretford following a visit he was said to have made to Morgan’s flat, jurors were awning
“It’s the prosecution case that as a trusted member of the organized crime group, Mr Wellings took possession of items from Morgan who was becoming increasingly concerned and paranoid about the previous police activity,” said Jamie Baxter, opening the case for the prosecution.
Morgan had summoned Mr Wellings to his flat to ‘dispose of criminal items’, the jurors were told.
But undercover cops watched Mr Wellings cycle away and when officers swooped they found the grenades in a drawstring bag inside his rucksack, according to the prosecutor.
Morgan’s fingerprints were later found on the drawstring, the court was told.
Later the same day, officers made their third seizure of the day, uncovering two firearms in a cupboard of another flat at Milton Close said to belong to another alleged gang member, Brian Day, 49.
One of the guns seized by police was said to have a gold colored trigger.
The jurors were told about messages, uncovered by the police investigation, which Morgan was said to sent to alleged members of his gang as the raids unfolded that day.
In one, he is said to have written: “They are back creeping about. It’s madness… Seen two heading this way. F*** knows what’s going on.”
In another he was said to have written: “Game over g!”
“He clearly sensed the writing was on the wall,” said Mr Baxter.
While the police operation continued, Morgan was said to have searched and viewed stories on the MEN website about the unfolding police operation as the bomb squad was called to deal with the ‘suspicious devices’ which had been found.
Prosecutor Mr Baxter told a jury at Minshull Street Crown Court, sitting at Stockport magistrates’ court: “This case concerns the seizure of class A drugs, firearms, ammunition and explosives – grenades – from a block of flats in the Stretford area of Manchester called Milton Close.
“The prosecution case is that an organized crime group managed by a man, Nathan Morgan, was behind the operation from a number of flats and also another address at Derwent Court. The prosecution say Mr Wellings was also part of that same organized crime group. “
Morgan, it was alleged, controlled a number of flats at Milton Close as well as living in one of the apartments. One was used to ‘batch and store’ cocaine and heroin as well as cultivate cannabis, the jurors were told.
But the operation was dismantled during raids on January 29, 2021, the court heard.
One flat belonged to Brian Day, 49, who the jurors were told had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess prohibited firearms.
Another belonged to Sarah Tervet, 42, where the gun, ammunition and two hand-grenades were found in a storage cupboard as part of the first seizure, said Mr Baxter.
Manchester’s courts are some of the busiest in the country with a vast array of cases heard every week.
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The DNA of a man who lived in the flat above, Gareth Curtis, was also found in the cupboard, the jurors were told.
Curtis and Morgan, the jurors were told, have previously pleaded guilty to possessing the grenades and ammunition found in the cupboard.
The prosecutor told the court: “It’s plain from the evidence you will hear Mr Nathan Morgan will have undoubtedly exercised his influence over others, perhaps even to a degree the defendant in the dock.
“The prosecution say there’s no doubt Mr Wellings was part of the conspiracies to possess grenades and supply drugs. You may think the serious drugs trade goes hand in hand with such items and consequences.”
Graham Wellings, 56, of Church Road in Stretford, the only man in the dock, denies a charge that he conspired to possess explosives, namely two hand-grenades, with Nathan Morgan and Gary Davies with intent to endanger life or damage property.
The jurors were told Mr Davies had died during the proceedings.
Mr Wellings also denies two other charges that he conspired with the same two men to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine and heroin.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.