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Drug boss brought police attention through flash living and driving Rolls Royces and McLaren 600LT

A DRUG BOSS attracted the attention of police through his flash lifestyle, including driving Rolls Royces and a McLaren 600LT.

Essex Police has brought down a gang led by Steve Mann, 38, who was seen to be living the high life despite having limited legitimate means.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "The group was led by Steven Mann who became the subject of an investigation after he was suspected of living well beyond his legitimate means and was known to drive a multitude of supercars, including a McLaren 600LT, worth over £100,000 and a number of Rolls Royces.

Mann operated the group from his home in Gershwin Avenue, in Witham.

He had a number of high value assets and a very limited source of legitimate income which could not support the lifestyle he was leading."

Through the investigation, which included the seizure of cocaine worth up to £24,000 officers from the force's serious and organised crime unit were able to link Mann to a retail premises in Witham, which he owned.

It was identified as somewhere where he and his associates would meet to discuss the group’s activities.

As a result, officers were able to connect Mann to James Lucia, Jordan Newell, Dean Newman and Billy Rice, who each worked under him.

Lucia, 36, was a main runner for Mann before the pair’s relationship broke down, after which Newell, 28, took over and began carrying out the group’s street level activity.

Dean Newman, 31, worked under Newell while Rice, 45, was a drug runner supplying to street users under the direction of Lucia.

Officers were able to piece together the group and they were arrested in February 2020.

Mann, 38, of Boreham Road, in Great Leighs was charged with conspiracy to supply a Class A drug.

James Lucia, 36, of Ness Walk, in Witham was charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug.

Jordan Newell, 28, of Forest Road, Witham, was charged with conspiracy to supply a Class A drug and possession with intent to supply a Class A drug.

Dean Newman, 31, of Church Street, in Witham was charged with being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug.

Billy Rice, 45, of Spital Road, Maldon, was charged with conspiracy to supply a Class A drug.

All admitted the charges against them and were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday, Tuesday June 14.

Mann was sentenced to a total of eight years in jail while Newell was sentenced to a total of five years and three months in prison.

Lucia was sentenced to a total of four years and six months in prison.

Rice was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for two years and must also complete 250 hours of unpaid work and Newman was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for two years and must also complete 300 hours of unpaid work.

Detective Superintendent Lee Morton, of the serious and organised crime unit, which is part of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This investigation was extremely complex and required a great deal of patience from the talented investigative team in order to secure the charges, most especially against Mann, who did everything he could to frustrate the operation.

“Mann sat above each of the men which allowed him to distance himself from the group’s criminality. But, over time, we were able to prove his significant involvement with a variety of evidence.

“The judge’s view on the investigation speaks for itself.”

Detective Supt Morton added: “This group thought nothing of profiting from selling drugs to vulnerable people in the county.

“As a result of the work by our investigators to disrupt this group, I have no doubt that Essex is now a safer place.”

Investigating officers were praised by Judge David Turner who said it was “impossible to do justice to the level of detail involved in the investigation”.

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