Cristopher Williams was found to have been the brains behind a gang dealing heroin and crack cocaine, while his girlfriend Lauren Callister laundered the money
Image: Liverpool Echo)
These are the holiday snaps of a drug gang boss and his girlfriend sunning themselves on a luxury break in Thailand.
Cristopher Williams, 32, was found to have been the brains behind the drug conspiracy that flooded the streets of Cumbria with heroin and crack cocaine, while his girlfriend Lauren Callister, 25, laundered the money.
These photos from the Liverpool Echo reveal the couple jetted off with friends to a luxury villa and the tropical beaches on the island of Koh Samui in Southeast Asia in January 2020.
Callister – who laundered around £15,000 of dirty cash for Williams via her bank account – boasted online, “best place iv ever stayed [sic]” as she shared sun kissed snaps of her posing in a bikini on a boat trip at the beautiful Pileh Lagoon.
In another picture, Callister can be seen enjoying the ocean views of a private residence overlooking Chaweng Bay and the Gulf of Thailand while floating on an inflatable flamingo.
One of the photos shows the couple shared their winter break with another member of the gang – convicted robber and drug runner Liam Benfield – plus other pals, as they relax on a beach.
Last week Williams and Benfield’s high life came to a crashing halt as they were both jailed over the Class A plot at Preston Crown Court.
Prosecutors said Williams controlled and directed the operation in a conspiracy operating between November 1, 2019 and June 23, 2020.
Williams, from Old Swan, Liverpool, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison while Callister was issued with a two year community order.
The significant operation, codenamed Furtim (which means ‘stealthily’ in Latin) by Cumbria Police, targeted gang members across both Merseyside and Cumbria.
In total, six members of the gang from Merseyside were caught by police.
Members of the gang travelled between Merseyside and Barrow on a regular basis to deliver drugs and collect money, while also recruiting people in both locations to bolster their ranks.
A phone line was used to set up a sophisticated business, whereby group messages were sent to local drug users in Barrow at various times of the day, advertising the heroin and crack cocaine for sale.
Once a customer replied, they would be told a location to meet up to buy the product.
The court heard more than 7,700 messages were sent to around 200 different numbers in Barrow.
Detectives from Cumbria Police managed to identify the phone number being used for the transactions as part of Operation Furtim.
On May 19 2020 they struck at a home in Barrow, where they caught Benfield and drug addict Kerri Mallet red-handed.
Benfield, 30, of Blackhorse Lane, Stoneycroft, had 28 wraps of heroin and five wraps of crack cocaine on him.
When officers searched a loft space, they found £2,845 in cash, which Benfield was linked to by forensic evidence.
Benfield was previously locked up for more than three and a half years in September 2017, after he was caught with crack cocaine and heroin down his underpants in a pub toilet cubicle in Carlisle.
Cumbria Police’s investigation into the gang culminated in a series of raids on June 23, 2020.
Officers arrested Williams and Callister when they raided the couple’s home in Old Swan that day.
They discovered around £2,000 in cash, numerous mobile phones and a “master list” of Barrow drug users kept by Williams, who was described as having knowledge on how to use the phone line.
Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for eight and a half years.
His lawyers said he now aimed to turn his life around and was hoping to move away and work as a bricklayer once he was out of prison.
Williams also said he took responsibility for Callister getting involved in crime.
Callister, originally from Carlisle, was originally charged with being involved in the same heroin and crack cocaine conspiracies, but was cleared of these charges.
She admitted converting criminal property and walked free from court after being handed a two-year community order with a 50-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 80 hours of unpaid work.
Benfield, who also admitted the drug plots, was handed a sentence of five years and eight months.
Other Merseyside members of the gang convicted as part of the drug conspiracy included Kyle Annett, 26, of Croxteth Hall Lane, Croxteth; Paul McGovern, 40, of September Road, Anfield; and Matthew Renshall, 28, of Woolacombe Avenue, St Helens.