A man being jailed for drug dealing pulled out a blade and slashed his wrist while threatening to kill a Sussex Police detective in a courtroom outburst this afternoon (Tuesday 19 December).
Louis Makai, 46, wrestled with security staff in the dock at Brighton Crown Court, as he shouted at Detective Sergeant Julian Deans: “When I get out I’ll kill you.”
Yelling at detectives and the prosecutor, Makai, of Langridge Drive, Portslade, said: “You’ve stitched me up. You might as well stitch me up again.
“I wasn’t dealing drugs and you know it.”
He had just been jailed for 18 years by Judge Anthony Niblett for his role in a £12.5 million drugs gang.
Five others were jailed for 67 years earlier this year while four of the 13 defendants died between their arrest and the end of the case.
Makai, who appeared to have hidden a blade up his sleeve, was the final member of the gang to be sentenced.
He was found guilty after a retrial which started last month and ended last Thursday (14 December) after a previous jury had been unable to reach a verdict.
In the cells, staff from the South East Coast Ambulance Service treated Makai for his cut wrist.
Caroline Haughey, prosecuting, praised the professional police operation for shutting down the gang which had been monitored running heroin from Liverpool to Brighton for almost a year.
The judge echoed her remarks and commended the team led by Detective Sergeant Deans who he said had dedicated many years to trying to keep drugs and dealers off the streets of Brighton and Hove.
He said that Makai was integral to the operation, telling him: “You were involved in this conspiracy from the outset until your arrest in March 2015.”
He said that Makai had a significant role in the gang, with an operational or management function, sometimes meeting couriers and even the gang’s leader Tommy Wynn, one of the four defendants who died.
The gang’s members were snared by detectives after an 11-month operation.
They had bought about 110kg (242lb or 17st 4lb) of heroin with 60 per cent purity which they cut and mixed into “tenths” – or 0.1 gram deals – with 30 per cent purity.
They picked up the heroin in Liverpool and brought it to Woodingdean, to the Langley Crescent address of Kingsley Walls, who died aged 44 before he could be sentenced.
There, in the kitchen, it was diluted with caffeine and paracetamol before being sold on the streets of Brighton and Hove.
Brighton Crown Court was told that Makai was in charge of the Hove and Portslade end of the gang’s business.
Nineteen suspected members and associates of the gang – which also acted as a wholesaler for drug dealing in Eastbourne – were arrested in a series of raids in March 2015.
More than a hundred police officers and staff, with warrants, searched nine addresses in Brighton and Hove along with one in Eastbourne and one in Liverpool.
They seized 6kg (13lb 3oz) of heroin mixed with a cutting agent, valued at £600,000, as well as £50,000 cash and three safes.
Thirteen people were charged including Wynn, from Liverpool, the drug gang’s mastermind.
When he failed to answer police bail, officers issued a public appeal for help to track him down.
His body was later found in Dubai.
During the trial earlier this year, a jury at Hove Crown Court was told that in less than a year couriers working for the gang made more than 50 trips between Liverpool and Sussex, bringing several kilograms of drugs south to be sold.
Commending the officers involved in the case, Judge Anthony Niblett said: “This was a highly complex and professional police operation.
“As a result, due to the dedication and professionalism of the team of officers involved, a significant supply of heroin into the city of Brighton and Hove has been terminated.”
Detective Sergeant Julian Deans said: “This has been a long and difficult investigation.
“In May 2014 we began the investigation and it took many months to understand the make up and complexity of the organised crime group.
“What became apparent was that kilos of heroin of high purity were transported into Sussex from Liverpool.
“Those drugs would be then broken down and adulterated from the high purity to around 30 per cent.
“This was then supplied to other dealers in and around Brighton and Hove who had their own individual supply networks.
“When we realised the scale of the investigation we focused on the ringleaders and this culminated in the arrests in March 2015.
“The jury were presented with over 130,000 pages of evidence and to try to simplify this into lay terms and get the evidence out was no small task.
“We will always target anyone who is supplying harmful drugs in Brighton and Hove, even if it takes months to gather the evidence as in this case, and we will work with other forces where necessary to disrupt supply lines from outside of Sussex.”
As well as Wynn and Walls, two other defendants died while the case was active.
Lee Mack, 50, of Sheepcote Valley Caravan Park, Brighton, died from cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in April, and Andrew Antoniou, 58, of Dorset Mews, Brighton, died from cancer in May.
The men jailed for conspiring to supply heroin earlier this year were
• Lea Elton Smith, 46, of Natal Road, Brighton, who was jailed for 25 years. Smith denied his part in the conspiracy but was convicted after a seven-week trial of being at the heart of the operation, running the Brighton end of the business.
• Tommy Wynn’s stepson John Paul Swann, 33, of Colin Drive, Liverpool, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin in January. He was jailed for 15 years.
• Neil Ballard, 48, of Hangleton Road, Hove, who admitted conspiring to supply heroin. He was jailed for seven years. He had recently completed a three-year sentence for previous drugs offences.
• Paul Shannon, 60, of North Street, Eastbourne, who admitted conspiring to supply heroin. He was jailed for 10 years.
• Arthur Jones, 55, Downs Avenue, Eastbourne, who admitted conspiring to supply heroin. He was also jailed for 10 years.
Of the others who were charged, Ronald Edwards, 50, of Chiddingly Close, Whitehawk, and Sean Davidson, 49, of Downhill View, Woodingdean, were found not guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin.
Ian Gerald Frost, 48, of St Michael’s Place, Brighton, was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin but admitted unrelated charges which were being dealt with separately.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.