Drugs gang jailed for 27 years


Three members of an organised crime group, who were caught with over £1million worth of ecstasy powder, have today sentenced to a total of 27 years after they were found guilty at an earlier hearing of Conspiring to Supply Class A Drugs.

A jury at Stafford Crown Court heard how the two men and one woman were arrested by Staffordshire Police following a joint operation with officers from West Mercia Police.

Charles Hendrie, 30, and Leah Parkes, 28, were both arrested by police shortly after they left the Hilton Park Services on to the M6 Southbound. Officers searched their car where they found a suitcase containing 16 packages of Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA) powder - commonly referred to as ecstasy.

Officers also recovered a hotel key for the Holiday Inn Express at Hilton Park Services where another suitcase was found in a room which contained a further 19 packages of ecstasy powder.

In total, police recovered 35kg of ecstasy with an estimated street value of £1.1million.

Following further investigations other defendants were identified and arrested including Adib Samira Asfour, 26 who had met Hendrie and Parkes the previous summer in Ibiza. Asfour had been seen to attend the Hotel and go to the room used by Hendrie and Parkes. He left a short while later with a bag. It was subsequently discovered the bag contained 3Kgs of the drugs.  All the defendants were later charged with Conspiracy to Supply Class A Drugs, the charge in respect of which they have today been found guilty.

Charles Hendrie was jailed to 10 years
Leah Parkes to 7 years
Adib Asfour to 10 years

Kiernan Cunningham, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit, said:

"Throughout this prosecution, all of the defendants have pleaded their innocence and claimed to have been unaware of what they were transporting or collecting. However, having considered the evidence put before them the jury found the defendants guilty of the offence charged. 

"Such criminal empires are built on human pain and suffering. By their illegal actions these defendants were intending to add to that pain and suffering.

"I would like to take this opportunity of thanking both Staffordshire Police and West Mercia Police for their excellent work in apprehending these individuals as well as the prosecution team as a whole for bringing these defendants to justice.

"The CPS and our partner agencies are working together to robustly prosecute those caught in the supply and trade of illegal drugs."