FIVE men have been jailed for a total of 25 years for drugs offences after a kilo of cocaine and £45,000 in cash were found during searches in Staffordshire.
Officers discovered £45,000 cash in a hidden compartment of a van and a kilo of cocaine in a search of a kitchen in Stone. A quarter kilo of cocaine was also discovered stashed in a cereal tin, during a search of a car.
Ten men in total pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs at earlier hearings, with the exception of Daniel Felgate, from Stone, who was found guilty of the same offence on October 23, following a six-day trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
The case involved a supply line of cocaine between The Wirral and Staffordshire.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court was told that on 12 August 2015, just after 7pm a silver Mercedes Vito van was observed pulling up outside a property in Longhope Drive, Stone.
James Jackson, from The Wirral, got out of the van and went inside carrying a blue and white bag. He left a few minutes later with a supermarket carrier bag. The van was stopped a short distance away and a supermarket carrier bag was found in a hidden compartment containing £45,350 in banknotes.
When this money was examined forensically it was found to have prints matching to Daniel Felgate. Another man, Ian Mycock, from Stafford, was stopped nearby and found to be in possession of two grip seal bags containing cocaine with a value of £110.
As officers forced entry to the property in Longhope Drive, Felgate jumped from the upstairs bathroom window and ran off. After a short chase he was arrested. Simon Richardson and and Wayne Bond, both from Stone, were both at the address and in possession of mobile phones with text messages linked to drug supply on them.
A search of the property began and officers found around one kilo of cocaine (valued at £43,000 to £57,000) in the kitchen.
The cocaine was inside the blue and white bag Jackson had taken into the property.
In a second event, on 25 August 2015, a white Nissan Navara pick-up was stopped on the M6 travelling southbound between junctions 19 and 18. The driver was Lee Edwards, of Dilhorne Road, Forsbrook. Thomas Cotterill, of King Street, Leek, and Joseph Plimmer, of Woodlands Lane, Blythe Bridge, were both passengers.
Under the front passenger seat was a cereal tin, containing what was found to be 243 grams (1/4 kilo) of cocaine with a value between £10,000 and £24,300. The tin was later examined for fingerprints and found to have two marks identified to Russell Ford of Birkenhead.
Holder was instrumental in arranging the meeting of Ford and Cotterill and subsequent supply of cocaine.
Grant Holder, aged 34, was sentenced to six years six months; Daniel Felgate, 34, seven years; Simon Richardson, 36, four years six months; Wayne Bond, 37, five years; Russell Ford, 36, two years and seven months;
Thomas Cotterill, 22, received a 16-month suspended sentence; Joseph Plimmer, 20, 21-month suspended sentence; Lee Edwards, 21, two-year suspended sentence.
Cotterill, Edwards and Plimmer were each ordered to undertake 250 hours’ unpaid work and to pay £400 costs.
A further man, Ian Mycock, 35, of Stafford, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and was given a 12-month conditional discharge, £20 victim surcharge and £130 costs.
James Jackson, 49, will be sentenced tomorrow (Wednesday)
Detective Inspector Lesley Fowler, of Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime investigations department, said: “We’re glad that these men are now behind bars. They went to lengths to conceal their activity and officers have worked hard over years to painstakingly gather evidence and build a case which has resulted in successful prosecutions.
“We’re dedicated to taking a proactive stance on tackling organised criminal activity and the supply of illegal drugs within our community. We will act decisively to take drugs and weapons off the street to keep our communities safe from harm and protect the vulnerable.”
Anyone who has information about a crime can call Staffordshire Police on 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org