Sheffield crime family - including ringleader's mother and gran - jailed for massive drug-dealing operation
Members of this Sheffield crime family have been jailed for over 70 years for their parts in a massive drug-dealing operation - with the ringleader's girlfriend, sister, mother and even his grandmother joining him behind bars.
Joe Mitchell, who continued to run the Parson Cross-based gang - known as ‘PXG’ - from his prison cell even after he went into custody for previous drug-dealing offences in late 2013, has been handed a 15-year prison sentence.
Sheffield Crown Court how the Mitchell family and their associates were involved in dealing massive quantities of heroin, cocaine and cannabis - and had access to a variety of guns to protect their territory from rival gangs.
Friends and relatives of the crime family were in tears in a packed public gallery as they were all jailed at Sheffield Crown Court.
South Yorkshire Police have now released pictures of members of the gang posing with a variety of weapons and showing off their drug-dealing activities that were stored on their mobile phones.
Astonishingly, ringleader Joe Mitchell was previously jailed in 2009 after photos of him posing with weapons were circulated on the internet and used by police as evidence to help jail him for firearms offences.
Judge Simon Lawler QC said three months of monitored phone calls between Joe Mitchell and his associates over a three-month period during late 2013 and early 2014 revealed evidence of an ‘organised and well-run drugs supply operation including heroin, cocaine and cannabis’.
He said: “The operation involved substantial profits and Joe Mitchell boasted of £10,000 profits in the three months he was in custody.
“It was a family-based business, including unhappily three generations, partners and other members who were paid by and trusted by the dominant force which was Joe Mitchell.
“He ran it even from custody with a culture of fear and reputation.
“In fairness to him, he has always accepted responsibility for being the head of this operation.”
He said the operation was backed up by the possession of a number of weapons to protect their territory and warn off rival gangs.
He said the group were ‘buying and selling and once of heroin and cocaine at least every couple of days’ - making a profit of £1,100 on each ounce they sold.
Judge Lawler said over the period of time covered by the case it appears the gang had sold ‘in excess of a kilo of heroin and cocaine’.
He said figures for the precise amount of cannabis sold by the group was unclear.
The court heard that on occasions, drug users would turn up to the family home with items stolen in robberies and burglaries to exchange them for drugs
The operation against the gang started in November 2013, when police found a gun and ammunition that would eventually be linked to the group hidden on Penrith Road.
In an Adidas bag was found with 79 shotgun cartridges, with a 9mm automatic handgun inside a JD sports bag recovered 24 hours later.
On December 2, 2013, Joe Mitchell was arrested close to girlfriend Vanessa Fitton’s house on Barrie Crescent in possession of 64 wraps of cocaine.
On his mobile were ‘many incriminating images’ showing drug dealing paraphernalia, money and firearms. Weapons were arranged in pictures to spell out ‘J’ and ‘S5’, while there were ‘team photographs’ of gang members posing with weapons and their hoods pulled up.
Other weapons used by the group included a Mossberg shotgun, a 0.44 firearm and a pen gun.
Mitchell was remanded in custody in HMP Doncaster and between December 5 and February 14, 2014, made a total of 1,200 calls from prison phones - 236 which related to his criminal activities.
While in prison, Mitchell also obtained an illicit phone which was found in his cell with numerous text messages relating to the drug-dealing operation.
The monitored phone conversations helped police to build a case against Mitchell as they revealed the extent of his drug-dealing operation and how it was continuing while he was in custody
Those involved included his mother Jayne, his sister Kaley, his grandmother Carol, his girlfriend Vanessa Fitton, his girlfriend’s brother Frankie Fitton and his sister Natasha’s boyfriend Levi Sendel.
Also involved were Nathan Lang, Rhyan Howden and Owen Thorpe.
The gang was also involved in transactions with twins Brad and Connor Murphy, who ran rival drug-dealing operations.
David Brooke, prosecuting, said: “The conspirators attempted to use code to discuss their dealing but frequently failed to exercise caution in their discussions.”
Joe Mitchell would call his mother Jayne at the family home on Southey Green Road from prison, who would pass him on other members of the gang at the property, including his ‘key man’ Levi Sendel.
The home was used as the base for the criminal operation.
Judge Lawler said Jayne Mitchell had been fully aware of the criminal activity and although there had been times when she called for the drugs operation to stop, she was ‘not strong enough’ to do so.
She also sold cannabis in her own right, making around £100 per day.
The court heard it was estimated Joe Mitchell had personally made £66,000 from the operation, with his mother Jayne making an estimated profit of £21,000.
Joe Mitchell’s grandmother Carole was the gang’s ‘banker’, who would make payments to others and hold on to drug money.
When officers raided her house they found over £5,000 in cash that was contaminated with heroin.
His sister Kaley’s house was used to store drugs and weapons, while she had a role in checking the stolen electrical goods that were brought to the family home in exchange for drugs.
Joe Mitchell’s girlfriend Vanessa Fitton was actively involved in the supply of cannabis and money-laundering.
An officer who investigated the group described the Mitchell gang as having one of the most organised drug-dealing operations he had come across in his career, with Joe Mitchell running the gang through ‘fear and reputation’.
Mitchell spoke of having sold drugs in the area for the past 10 months before going to custody.
In February 2014, Carol, Jayne and Kaley Mitchell were all arrested, along with twins Connor and Brad Murphy.
Despite the arrests, the operation continued and in June 2014, Levi Sendel and Frankie Fitton were arrested in possession of crack cocaine and heroin.
On Fitton’s phone were a number of images of guns, as well as one of Owen Thorpe chopping up Class A drugs on a chopping board.
Chief Superintendent David Hartley, the Sheffield district commander, said: “It has been a complicated and lengthy investigation dealing with organised crime groups in the Parson Cross area of Sheffield.
“The drugs ring spanned three generations of the Mitchell family. We were able to jail not only Joe Mitchell, but his sister, girlfriend, mother and grandmother for their roles.
“They were involved in a significant network of organised crime with no regard for the community.
“It is an absolutely fantastic result which is testament to the hard work of the officers involved.”
He said the sentences follow recent raids on other suspected drug dealers in the Manor and Arbourthorne areas.
“We are taking the fight to people causing communities harm and we are not going to stop
“The Mitchell family are on example of a family that maybe appeared to the community to be untouchable. This shows they are not untouchable.
“We will put a lot of time and effort and money into bringing offenders like them to justice.”
Joe Mitchell, aged 29, of Southey Green Road, Sheffield was sentenced to 15 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, possessing a handgun, possessing a firearm with intent, possessing criminal property.
Levi Sendel, 21, of Southey Green Road, Sheffield was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, possessing a handgun and possessing a firearm with intent
Vanessa Fitton, 29, of Barrie Road, Sheffield was jailed for nine months for conspiracy to supply cannabis.
Kaley Mitchell, 25, of Crowder Close, Sheffield, was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to supply cannabis , conspiracy to take Class C drugs into prison and control of criminal property.
Jayne Mitchell, 49, of Southey Green Road, got six-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
Rhyan Howden, 28, of Lytton Drive, Sheffield was sentenced to five years for possession of a pen gun with intent
Carol Mitchell, 69, of Launce Road, Sheffield, was jailed for nine months for possession of criminal property
Nathan Lang, 23, of Penrith Road, Sheffield, was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of a sawn-off shotgun.
Frankie Fitton, 22, of Lindsay Avenue, Sheffield, was jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, possession of cocaine and cannabis
Connor Murphy and Brad Murphy, both 24, of Shirecliffe Road, were jailed for seven-and-half-years and six-and-a-half years respectively for drug dealing and weapon offences.
Owen Thorpe is to be sentenced at a later date for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis.