A leading member of an organised crime group who ran a drugs network from his prison cell is appealing his 20-year jail term – believed to be one of the longest sentence ever imposed by the Manx courts.

Kyle Molyneux, also known as Kyle Johnson, arranged for heroin, cocaine and cannabis to be shipped to the island while on remand at the prison in Jurby for a previous drug importation offence.

He was jailed for 20 years in August after admitting the attempted production of heroin, the production of cocaine, a further count of being concerned in the production of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering offences.

Molyneux has now lodged an appeal against his sentence. His appeal will be heard on December 18.

He admitted playing a leading role in the drug operation, but denied being the most senior member in the island, and in his guilty plea mentioned that he had a boss in the UK.

Before his incarceration, Molyneux, age 27, formerly of the Larivane Estate, Andreas, had used violence, exploitation and intimidation to sustain his criminal lifestyle.

The court heard such was his arrogance he told a prison officer that the money he had made was ‘worth any penalty’.

In 2020, he posted a video of himself taunting police when he fled the island on a fishing boat. He evaded police for four months before he was arrested.

Molyneux’s conviction came as part of an Isle of Man and Merseyside police operation codenamed Achilles which ran between February 2020 and April this year and which smashed an organised crime group and led to the seizure of drugs with a value of almost £100,000.

No fewer than 12 individuals have been handed lengthy custodial sentences after pleading guilty to a wide range of serious drug, conspiracy and money laundering offences.

Achilles began in February 2020, when officers seized 55g of heroin and 127g of what was almost pure cocaine within the postal system.

In May of that year, a parcel was intercepted at the Braddan sorting office, which contained 166g of cannabis. Also in May, a parcel was intercepted in Liverpool, that when opened, was found to have 242g of heroin inside. This package was addressed to a juvenile living in the south of the island.

Then in January 2021, police intercepted £34,095 in cash hidden in a mobile burger van destined for the Merseyside area.

Molyneux, the main organiser within the prison, had access to a number of illicit SIM cards. Call data linked him to the others who were all part of the same organised crime group.

During September 2021, prison officers searched Molyneux’s prison cell. They located a prison issue mobile phone containing an illicit SIM card. It became clear he was the main orchestrator and the investigation also highlighted the level of criminal activity that Molyneux had been involved in before going to prison.

He had been involved in the importation of just under half a kilogram of class ‘A’ controlled drugs. His activities involved money laundering, enforcement based violence, intimidation, exploitation of vulnerable persons and organisation of drug shipments.

As a result of the police operation, nearly half a kilogram of heroin has been seized and stopped from being supplied.