£180k of cocaine found behind trap door in van used by drug gang

A drug gang member was found with £180k of cocaine stashed behind a trap door in a white van.

Paul Marrow, 62, of Rainford Road, Dentons Green, Merseyside, was part of an eight-person gang who shipped drugs to the North East from Liverpool. Last month, head honcho John Allock was locked up for 21 years and five others got sentences ranging from a year to 13 years.

Now, Marrow, who admitted Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs, was jailed for 11 years for his role as a courier, ChronicleLive reports.

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Newcastle Crown Court heard police stopped Marrow’s van on the A1 in Durham September 15, 2017. With the assistance of a drugs dog, a hidden electronically operated compartment complete with a trap door was found inside his white van and contained a 1kg block of high purity cocaine worth around £180,000.

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said: “He had three phones. One being used as a sat nav, the other was a personal phone and the third phone was encrypted, which featured throughout the conspiracy in relation to some of the other defendants”. Ms Dowling said Marrow made 40 trips to the North East between January 9 2017 and June 1 2018, transport “in excess of 20kg” of drugs.

The court heard that Marrow hasn’t been living a lavish lifestyle from money made from the conspiracy but had, instead, got involved to pay-off a £12,000 debt, for which he was being charged £500 a day in interest. Allcock, who was living in Spain, was later arrested with the help of the National Crime Agency by officers determined to bring the conspiracy to an end.

During the complex investigation, which was launched by officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), Allcock and his trusted lieutenant Carl McAlindon were monitored as they ran their illegal business, buying and sourcing drugs from members of a North West organized criminal group.

Allcock would regularly travel to Liverpool and Manchester to meet with associates and was observed visiting an industrial unit which the group had access to and suspect to have been used to store large quantities of Amphetamine – which he later bought and employed couriers to distribute across the region .



Top – lr: John Allcock, Paul Marrow, Carl McAlindon, Mark Lee Hiscock; Bottom – lr: Baber Azim, Bernard Sewell, Glenn Stoddart, David McFarlane

As part of their investigation, police seized more than £120,000 cash, 65kg of cannabis and mixing agents, as well as class A drugs.

Allcock, 52, of Hillmeadows, Willington, County Durham, was found guilty of conspiracy to Supply Class A and B drugs and money laundering. He was jailed for 21 years.

Carl McAlindon, 36, of Abbey Drive, Jarrow, was found guilty of conspiracy to Supply Class A and B Drugs and money laundering. He was jailed for 13 years.

Bernard Sewell, 41, of Roman Road, Hebburn, was found guilty of conspiracy to Supply Class B drugs but found not guilty of conspiracy to supply class A Drugs. He was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Mark Hiscock, 46, of Cheviot Road, South Shields, was found guilty of money laundering but found not guilty of Conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for 12 months.

Glen Stoddart, 53, of Mariner’s Point, Hartlepool, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, money laundering and participating in activities of an organized crime group. He was jailed for five-and-a-half years.

David McFarlane, 53 of Hadrian Road, Jarrow was found guilty of money laundering but found not guilty of Conspiracy to Supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for 12 months.

Baber Azim, 43, of Slough admitted Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering and was serving to a four years and nine months behind bars.

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