The mortality toll from heroin is rising, but dealers continue to profit from the drug.
The difference could not be more stark.
On the one side, a heroin trafficking gang boss, his money-laundering girlfriend, and a henchman are relaxing in the tropical Thai heat.
On the other hand, desperate addicts are dying in the most impoverished areas of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Last year, the town saw a record number of drug-related deaths, thanks in part to the brutal activity of severe organized criminal syndicates from major cities.
Three guys linked to the ‘Jimmy’ phone line were arrested today in Barrow for attempting to sell heroin and crack cocaine on behalf of Merseyside-based organised crime organisations.
Tony Miller, 35, and Daniel Bullock, 30, both of Barrow, were arrested along with Brady Cole, 31, of Runcorn, for conspiring to sell Class A narcotics.
However, in recent operations, investigators from Merseyside and Cumbria Police have taken down several county lines narcotics companies.
A judge at Preston Crown Court recently incarcerated six members of a gang led by Christopher Williams, 32, of Douglas Road, Old Swan.
Last week, The Washington Newsday exposed how Williams and his 25-year-old girlfriend Lauren Callister used heroin revenues to go to Thailand for a lavish vacation.
While Williams and Callister were sunbathing in Southeast Asia, their enterprise flooded Barrow with narcotics over the course of a year, resulting in the deaths of 17 people due to drug misuse – a large figure for a town of 67,000 people.
The couple posed for photos on the beaches of Koh Samui, Thailand, revealing that they were joined on the trip by fellow heroin trafficker Liam Benfield, 30, of Stoneycroft’s Blackhorse Lane.
Williams and Benfield were sentenced to prison alongside Paul McGovern, 40, of Anfield’s September Road; Matthew Renshall, 28, of St Helens’ Woolacombe Avenue; and Kyle Annett, 26, of Croxteth Hall Lane.
Both Williams’ gang and those behind the Jimmy line rely on cell phones loaded with customer numbers on the streets of Barrow to make money.
The phones are used to distribute Class A drug advertisements and coordinate sales, typically with individuals at the top of the food chain. “The summary has come to an end.”