Drugs gang get 30 years - St Albans

27/03/2013

Five men from all over the country were today, Wednesday 27 March 2013 jailed for nearly 30 years after a police undercover operation into cocaine and amphetamine smuggling.

Officers were watching as nearly 5 kilos of cocaine were brought into the country via the south coast and again, four months later, when 38 kilos of amphetamine was bought near services on the M40 in Buckinghamshire, St Albans Cown Court heard today.

Prosecutor Robert Acheson said that on 9 February last year two Dutch nationals were stopped by Sussex police in a London cab travelling towards Kent. In a holdall they found 4.98 kilos of cocaine. It was 63 in purity and had "come fresh off the boat."

Two defendants Sean Davie, from Greenfield, Beds, and Joe Watson from Wanstead, were linked by the police to the importation. They had been seen with associates the day before in Wapping. Davie had been tailed after picking up an unknown man from a hotel in Luton and driving him to Eastbourne, where he was always close to the deal.

Police then bugged Davie's car and kept watch, discovering he was involved in importing 38 kilos of amphetamine. On 6 June Watson and a third defendant Paul O'Brien, who was putting up £30,000 cash to finance the deal, were seen at Beaconsfield services on the M40.  After an exchange was made nearby, Watson's car was stopped on the M25 and the drugs recovered.

Co-defendants Joseph Cox and Christian Stevenson were stopped on the M6 as they drove north. They had £34,000 on them.

Sean Davie, 44, of Eaton Mews, Greenfield, Beds., was jailed for 14 years. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine on 9 February last year, conspiracy to import amphetamine on 6 June last year and money laundering.

Joe Watson, 28, of Woodbury Close, Wanstead, East London was sentenced to 7 and a half years. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine, conspiracy to import amphetamine and illegal money transfer.

Paul O'Brien, 46, of Farrier Square, Ramsden Heath, Billericay, Essex, was jailed for 4 years 8 months. He admitted conspiracy to import amphetamine and conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

Joseph Cox, 39, of Bligh Street, Liverpool, received 20 months. Christian Stevenson, 38, of Charnwood Avenue, Denton, Manchester, was also sentenced to 20 months. They both admitted conspiracy to supply amphetamine and transferring criminal property.

For Davey, Tim Smith said: "He was not a seller or purchaser of the cocaine. He was the middle man between the selling arm and the purchasing arm. He facilitated the transaction."

For Watson, Sean Minihan said that on the first occasion he thought he had been dealing with amphetamine, not cocaine. In a letter to the judge he said getting involved was the "biggest mistake of my life. I have no-one to blame but myself."

Michael Butler for O'Brien said the father of seven was financing part of the amphetamine deal by putting up £30,000 to make a £10,000 profit. He asked for credit for his good character and early guilty plea.

Phillipa Eastwood for Cox said he was a "hard-working family man who was involved in an isolated incident." He said he had been a banksman in Liverpool looking after cranes before losing his job. "He went in with his eyes open and did not know the scale and quantity involved," she said.

Andrew Kerry, for Stevenson, said he was remorseful and had learnt his lesson. Since being on remand in prison he said he had used his time well.

Jailing them, Judge John Plumstead said: "This was professional drug dealing. It was just business activity. There is no morality."

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