Police have identified 17 organised crime gangs using guns in deadly drug disputes across Greater Manchester, the M.E.N. can reveal. The gangs – operating in Bury, Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale and north Manchester – are being targeted in a major police operation that has so far led to more than 100 arrests. Detectives are linking the gang war to several shooting incidents, including the murder of of father-of-two Amran Khan in September last year.
The 29-year-old was shot dead on the doorstep of his home on Nugget Street, Oldham, because of a heroin debt. Twins Brett and Jordan Francis, 26, of Birch Avenue, Chadderton, were later convicted of murder and jailed for life. The M.E.N has learned that Operation Brunel – launched by Greater Manchester Police to tackle the new gangs – is specifically targeting 17 known groups in the five areas.
Many of them are using drug money to fund affluent lifestyles, police sources said – and several were using guns to settle feuds. The Brunel crackdown has been running for a month and a total of 106 people have been arrested. Police have seized 27 vehicles and stop-and-search tactics are also being used across the areas.
Detectives involved in the operation are working alongside colleagues from the Regional Intelligence Unit, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the Counter Terrorism Unit and the Asset Recovery Area. Dave Thompson, assistant chief constable of GMP, said residents reporting incidents were playing a key role. He said: “These groups are extremely well-organised and the crimes they commit, mainly drug dealing, finances their affluent lifestyles.
“This is just the start of an ongoing operation that aims to break up these groups, enforce the law and prosecute where possible. “There have already been people killed and a number of firearms incidents involving these criminals. We are resolute in not allowing this to escalate.” Police are working closely with community leaders and councils as part of the Brunel crackdown. Legislation to recover ill-gotten assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act will also be used.
Mr Thompson added: “The message is clear, that crime does not pay and we will use the full force of the law to put an end to the activities of a small minority of callous criminals, whose activities have such a negative effect on our communities and the quality of the lives of law-abiding, decent people.”