Man jailed after £12million of cocaine, cash and guns discovered - Hertfordshire

29/04/2016

Cocaine with a street value of up to £12 million pounds was seized by the police when a van was stopped on the M1 in Hertfordshire.

When the driver, Malcolm O'Halloran, aged 51, was cautioned by the officers he replied: "It's no comment from here."

As his Blackberry phone was examined, it received a 'remote command' that restored it to its factory settings, wiping out all the call data that would have been used to trace other drug gang members. O'Halloran's home in Aycliffe Road, Borehamwood, Herts was searched and £57,408 in cash and three hand guns were found.

Today, Friday, 29 April 2016, at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Stephen Warner jailed O'Halloran for 16 years.

Michael Speak, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the black Ford Transit O'Halloran was driving had been pulled over at 12.30pm on Tuesday, 19 January this year on the southbound carriageway of the M1 between junctions 9 and 8, for St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. "In the rear was two holdalls and two bin liners, all of which contained cocaine. There were 50.047 kilos, most of which was of 80 per cent purity. The lowest purity was 63 per cent," he said. Mr Speak said at the lowest level of purity, 63 per cent, the police estimated the drugs had a street value of between £6,305,000 and £9,458,000. At the highest level of purity, 83 per cent, the street value was between £8,307,000 and £12,461,000.

At O'Halloran's rented home, a bundle of £20 notes with a total value of £53,000 was found behind the tumble drier. Elsewhere in the house three more bundles of cash were found: £3,300, £770 and £100. Three self-loading pistols were also found under a lid in the coffee table, along with two silencers. One of the guns had live ammunition loaded in it.

Mr Speak said other members of the drug network had been tracking O'Halloran through his mobile phone and must have launched the 'remote command' when they realised he had been arrested.

O'Halloran, a roofer, pleaded guilty to six charges: possessing cocaine with intent to supply, possessing criminal property, three charges of possessing guns and possession of ammunition. He had 17 previous convictions, including an 18-year sentence in 1994 for conspiracy to rob banks in North West London between July 1991 and September 1992.

Defending, Claire Davies said O'Halloran had been a courier and was being paid £3,000 to take the drugs from A to B. The wholesale value of the drugs was between £1.9 and £2.5 million. She said he was storing £53,000 of the cash for others at his home. She said he was storing the guns for others and they had never been fired.

Judge Warner told O'Halloran, who appeared via a video link from Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes: "You were involved in professional crime, acting as a courier to transport 50 kilos of cocaine. The quantity and purity of the drugs indicate this was an organised and professional commercial operation run by sophisticated criminals. You played a willing part in the distribution network of these drugs. The use and abuse of drugs blight the lives of people who become addicted to them." He said the guns were for the use of professional criminals and O'Halloran provided a "safe house."

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