A drug dealer’s girlfriend recruited her family into a gang that funded his lavish lifestyle
A drug dealer’s girlfriend ended up recruiting her mother, father and brother into her gang after an arrest threatened to end her luxurious lifestyle.
Jonathan Walsh, 33, met Jodie Bowie on Facebook while serving a 14-year sentence for armed robbery, moving in with her on his release.
From Failsworth, Oldham, he ran a drug ring that trafficked amphetamines and cannabis to the East Midlands – and also provided his girlfriend Bowie with designer items, high-powered cars and surgery aesthetic.
Bowie’s uncle, Joseph Gray, worked as one of Walsh’s couriers, but when he was arrested Bowie enlisted his mother, father and brother to help move the money generated by the “sophisticated” operation.
The family have now been sentenced at Manchester Crown Court, where it has been learned how “fearless Bowie was when it came to spending money”.
During an initial raid on her home, police found more than £100,000 ($136,000) worth of designer clothes, along with £10,000 ($13,000) in cash.
Another police visit resulted in the recovery of clothes worth £27,000 ($36,000) and £5,410 ($7,300) in cash, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Messages on Bowie’s phone also showed her planning with Walsh to spend £5,000 ($6,800) on cosmetic surgery.
Describing the weeks after Walsh and Bowie moved in together, prosecutor Tom Challinor said: “Over a very short period, Walsh began accumulating lavish lifestyle possessions, including Rolex watches, designer clothes creators and driving expensive cars at £1,300 a month.
“They decorated their home with lavish decor that indicated this lifestyle.
“Jodie Bowie was working at the time but didn’t have the kind of income that could have supported that lifestyle.
“When Gray was arrested and his [Walsh’s] operation was affected, she knew she had to do something – and something had to recruit her family, namely her mother, brother and father who helped with the operation.
“When it came to spending money, she was fearless.”
Walsh was arrested following a police chase, with officers finding 15kg of vacuum sealed packets of cannabis worth £150,000 ($200,000).
The court heard how he smuggled drugs from the North West to Nottinghamshire, using various people to do his ‘dirty work’ such as moving drugs and money.
When Gray was arrested by police after he was seen delivering a package to Walsh, Bowie enlisted mum Janice, dad David and brother Lee to carry cash – traveling to Mansfield and back to at least 21 times – she told them where to go and warned them to delete their posts.
Grey’s arrest also prompted Walsh to find another courier, Kaylum Davies, who delivered drugs three times until his arrest.
The court heard that Davies’ sister Chelsea – who was also the girlfriend of Walsh’s brother Noel – had also stored a significant amount of amphetamines in her freezer and had been recruited to sell cannabis to her friends.
Sentencing the gang, Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said: “Cannabis is responsible for psychosis, depression and paralysis. It ruins lives also damaged by OCGs like this in our society. This group was associated with firearms that cause fear and evil.
“Jodie Bowie, you recruited family members as couriers and messaged them about meeting places and told them to delete the messages.
“You had financial benefits to gain from it, I accept that you have a personal income, but that income did not allow you to have the lifestyle that you apparently had.”
Walsh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and money laundering, and was also later convicted of other offenses and jailed for 15 years.
Bowie was sentenced to 21 months in prison – suspended for two years – and a three-month curfew between 7 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. after pleading guilty to conspiring to supply Class B cannabis and money laundering. She was also given 140 hours of unpaid work and a 10 day requirement for rehabilitation activities.
Her father David Bowie, 52, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment – suspended for 18 months – and 80 hours of unpaid work and £300 ($400) in costs, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to transfer criminal property.
His wife Janice Bowie, 53, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment – suspended for 18 months – along with 80 hours of unpaid work and £400 ($500) in costs, after being found guilty by a conspiracy jury to transfer criminal property.
Lee Bowie, 34, Newton Heath, is due to be sentenced at a later date, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to conceal/disguise/convert/transfer/delete criminal property.
Gray pleaded guilty to firearms charges, then to drug trafficking and money laundering, and was sentenced to eight and a half years.
Kaylum Davies, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A heroin and conspiracy to supply Class B amphetamines and cannabis, and was jailed for three years.
His sister Chelsea was sentenced to 14 months in prison – suspended for two years – plus 15 days of rehabilitative activity and 100 hours of unpaid work, after pleading guilty to conspiring to supply Class B amphetamines and conspiracy to supply Class B cannabis.
Her boyfriend Noel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B and money laundering and was sentenced to three years.
Chief Detective Inspector Anthony Norman, of GMP’s Serious and Organized Crime Unit, said: “This has been a long and complex operation devoted to dismantling this criminal group.
“It is difficult to understand how damaging these weapons and drugs could have been on our streets if the police had not recovered them first.
“We have now managed to keep these people in prison for a long time, and our community is now a safer place with them behind bars.
“I hope this operation sends a clear message that GMP will work tirelessly to prosecute anyone involved in the supply of harmful drugs and weapons.”