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Liverpool Narcos uses access to the major players involved in the city’s international drugs trade – from those who ended up in prison to the detectives responsible for putting them there, as well as the addicts who got caught up in it.
It shows how our global links, the influence of the docks and mass unemployment at the time combined to create ‘the perfect storm’ for Liverpool to become the UK’s major point of entry for drugs being smuggled into the country.
The series also looks at the effect of a club culture boom in the late ‘80s in creating a new multi-million-pound trade in ecstasy, sparking turf wars among rival criminal gangs.
Liverpool Narcos is going to be one of Sky’s most talked-about series of 2021, so here’s everything you need to know …
The first episode, entitled ‘Heroin’, is on Thursday June 3 at 9pm. Episode 2, ‘Ecstasy’ is on Thursday June 10 at 9pm and Episode 3, ‘Cocaine’ is on Saturday June 19 at 10.45pm.
The series is on Sky Documentaries and is also available on Now TV.
Liverpool Narcos has been written and directed by Anthony Philipson who has previously worked on shows including Ross Kemp on Gangs, 24 Hours in A & E, New Blood and Our Girl with Michelle Keegan.
Episode one is all about heroin and how its availability in the ‘80s changed life for the criminal underworld and for communities where it was rife. The director interviews all sides of the trade – a courier, detectives and customs officers, a journalist, drugs counsellors and an addict.
Episode two moves on to the late ‘80s, the drugs revolution sparked by the arrival of ecstasy and how dealers, club bouncers and their bosses fought it out to gain control of a very lucrative market.
Episode three is set in the ‘90s when Liverpool’s Narcos set up direct contact with Colombian cartels to flood the UK with cocaine, becoming multi-millionaires in the process. The focus is Curtis Warren and on Stephen Mee, described by the police as kingpin Warren’s second in command.
Centred around Michael Showers, described as ‘The Boss’, this episode recreates a hotel sting in 1990 called Operation Rainman which resulted in him being jailed for 20 years for heroin smuggling.
The director interviews the man police unofficially called The Godfather who still protests his innocence, maintaining his only drugs involvement was in cannabis and that he was ‘fitted up’. He explains how he ended up in Borstal as a teenager before making his first drug trade – 300lbs of weed – after a trip to Nigeria.
The documentary reveals how Michael Showers became a high-profile community representative in Liverpool 8, driving a white Rolls Royce, marching for equal rights and treated like a hero by kids on the street.
This first episode also talks to Raff, a courier who made regular trips from Liverpool to Pakistan to buy “the best heroin in the world”, and detective Brian Monaghan who admits that parts of Toxteth became no-go areas for police.
With heroin available on street corners for as little as £5 a packet, Billy Moore was just one of thousands who became addicts. He tells his story to director Anthony Philipson.
“Heroin was like a silent bomb that landed in Liverpool – no-one heard it coming,” he says.
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