Trio accused of being part of major cross-country drugs ring linked to crime gangs

Trio accused of being part of major cross-country drugs ring linked to crime gangs

Three men are on trial accused of being embroiled in cross-country wholesale drug dealing.

It is alleged the trio were involved with Middlesbrough and Darlington-based crime gangs in drug and cash exchanges.

Prosecutor Stephen Grattage said the two groups cooperated, passing drugs and using a courier route to West Yorkshire to deliver drugs and cash.

The Crown alleged Adam Rooney, 30, Keith Hall, 31 and Joshua Mains, 29, were involved with the Middlesbrough group.

Mohammed Shaffiq, 48, and Ervin Kesler, 29, were accused of working with the Darlington group.

Rooney has now admitted conspiring to supply Class A drugs while Kesler admitted a money laundering charge.

Mr Grattage told jurors yesterday: “The Crown allege they were involved in specific criminal events, exchanges of drugs or cash.

“They must have known that there was a criminal enterprise in place, a plan to supply drugs or cash and they played their part.

“Both groups were involved in drugs supply at a wholesale level.

“Both groups were at the level above the suppliers who would individually bag small deals for sale to users.

“Both groups demonstrated forensic awareness. They engaged in counter-surveillance measures.”

He said they chose remote locations for meetings and used “clean” and “dirty” phone numbers, changing SIM cards and dropping numbers after seizures and arrests.

He told of evidence from surveillance and telephone contact from the time of the alleged deals between April and August 2014.

He said Rooney was seen walking from a Vauxhall Corsa with a heavy orange bag in Park End, Middlesbrough hours after he and Hall had been to a Middlesbrough golf course.

Rooney tried to get rid of the bag - which contained two blocks totalling about 1.5kg of heroin worth £74,250 - when he was arrested.

Officers found £14,410 cash in a bag carrying Rooney’s fingerprints in the Corsa, and another £1,100 with Hall.

Police seized 87.6g of cocaine worth £3,250 at Hall’s home on Holtby Walk, Park End, Middlesbrough.

Rooney, of Wisbey Avenue, Park End, had denied conspiring to supply heroin and cocaine, but pleaded guilty to both charges on the second day of the trial today.

Hall and Mains, both of Holtby Walk, deny conspiring to supply heroin. Hall denies conspiring to supply cocaine.

Hall told police he found some cocaine on the golf course and it was for his own use, though he suggested he was minding it for someone else, and the money was steel works wages and winnings from gambling on football.

Former asbestos stripper Mains said “no comment” when asked about the sale of drugs.

Kesler drove a BMW in which £19,680 cash was found under a child’s seat in Darlington.

This led to the discovery of 9.5kg of amphetamine worth almost £100,000 and 25.2g of crack cocaine at another man’s Darlington home.

Kesler, from Bradford, denied conspiring to supply amphetamine and was cleared of this charge after he admitted possessing criminal property, the £19,680.

He said he expected to be paid £100 to collect about money relating to a car.

Leeds taxi driver Shaffiq is accused of being involved in an attempt to move 1.94kg of methcathinone from Darlington to West Yorkshire.

The drugs were found by police in his Toyota Avensis in Leeds.

Shaffiq denies conspiring to supply the Class B drug methcathinone.

Proceeding

Original Article www.gazettelive.co.uk

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