The leader of an organised crime group has been handed a 20-year jail sentence.

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.

This week he was sentenced for 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.

On making his decision, Deemster Cook said that he had taken into account that he had pleaded guilty at the earliest point possible, the defendant experienced difficulties with his mental health such as PTSD, ADHD, borderline personality disorder and depression, and that he has had a seachange in attitude during his remand resulting in privileges at the prison.

While Molyneux admitted that he played 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 a 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. These drugs were sent from Liverpool to a vulnerable female in the island.

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.

Merseyside-based Matthew Henwood was identified as the sender of all packages and was arrested following the lifting of Covid border restrictions.

He is serving 11 years in jail having been responsible for sending nearly one kilo of class A drugs to the island.

In January 2021, the police intercepted £34,095.00 in cash, secreted in a mobile burger van destined for the Merseyside area. Then in July the same year, two men – James Quayle and Niall Crowe – were detained in the north of the island and found to be in possession of heroin which had a street value of £69,200. They too are now serving long custodial sentences.

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.

In August 2021, a woman living in Douglas, Kirsty Quilliam, took possession of a microwave oven. Hidden inside were 248g of cocaine with a street value of £24,780.

This was later collected by a local man, Thomas McBurnie, who was apprehended leaving the area.

Phone data proved Molyneux was again involved. Evidence indicated he was orchestrating the drugs coming into the island from his jail cell.

It did not stop there. In September 2021, an enforcer from Merseyside named Shaun Buckley arrived in the island to collect drug debts. He too was apprehended, convicted of money laundering offences, and jailed.

He was here seeking another local man Philip Nyamande, who was found to have £9,620 hidden in his underwear. Nyamande was communicating with Molyneux in his prison cell. Both have been convicted for conspiracy to commit money laundering offences.

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 – that is in the region of 3,230 separate street deals.

Detective Inspector Jamie Tomlinson said: ‘I believe the sentence imposed on him is the longest ever given by the courts, which reflects the seriousness and sophistication of the group and the major role he played.’