A leading member of a cross border organised crime group was today jailed for 15 years for orchestrating the importation of some £221,000 worth of drugs.

James Spotswood, 35, arranged for nearly a kilo of cocaine and just under four kilos of cannabis to be brought to the island from his prison cell in Walton jail, Merseyside.

His case mirrors that of Kyle Molyneux, another leading member of the same organised crime group, who was jailed for 20 years earlier this month for drug trafficking, which he orchestrated while on remand in Jurby prison.

Spotswood, of Townsend Street, Birkenhead, had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of 248.7g of cocaine on August 6, 2021 and admitted the production of 999.56g of cocaine and 3.9 kilos of cannabis on June 22 last year.

He was convicted as part of a joint Isle of Man police and North West Regional Crime Unit operation codenamed Achilles which has seen a dozen members of the same organised crime group sentenced.

Prosecutor James Robinson told the Court of General Gaol Delivery that on August 6, 2021, police received information about a package of controlled drugs, addresed to Hillside Terrace, Douglas, had been secreted in the rear of a microwave. The 248.7g of cocaine inside had a street value of £24,870.

Mobile phone calls and messges led to the arrest of Spotswood who was identified as being intergral to the same organised crime group as Kyle Molyneux.

The defendant was serving a sentence in Walton jail for money laundering in connection with his OCG activities when he arranged for a substantial quantity of drugs to be imported the island, comprising 3.9 kilos of cannabis with a street value of £78,419 and 999.56g of cocaine worth between £99,956 and £142,794.

These drugs had a total value of between £178,345 ad £221,213.

Mr Robinson said Spotswood was a leading member of the organised crime group but was unlikely to be ‘at the top of the tree’. He said the importation of such a large quantity of cocaine to the island was ‘very rare’.

Deemster Graham Cook jailed him for a total of 15 years for the cocaine offences and three years to run concurrently for the production of cannabis.

He said aggravating factors were the level of planning and sophistication in what was a ‘commercial scale’ operation and the fact that the June 2022 offences were committed while the defendant was serving a jail term for offences linked to the organised crime group.

Deemster Cook also ordered Spotswood – who the court heard is likely to request a transfer to a UK prison – to be banned from the island for a period of five years when he is released from prison.