Police score major victory in battle against cocaine dealing in East Lancashire (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Police score major victory in battle against cocaine dealing in East Lancashire
10:00pm Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
DETECTIVES say the have scored a major victory in the war on cocaine dealing in Lancashire after the convictions of three involved in a ‘cutting agent’ operation.
Large barrels of benzocaine were imported from Shangai to addresses in Burnley and Derbyshire so it could be blended with cocaine by Manchester drug dealers, Preston Crown Court heard.
Clifford Hall, from Milton Keynes, was responsible for ordering benzocaine from China using the details of bogus chemical companies.
The likes of Christopher Pounder, from Parkinson Street, Burnley, took delivery of importations in large quantities.
Prosecutors said in one deal alone Pounder, posing as an agent for the fictitious chemical firm Chemax, received a 27kg barrel which had been falsely labelled as methyl cellulose.
Hall, 31, was found guilty by a jury of assisting in the supply of class A drugs, a charge which Pounder admitted before the crown court trial.
Jurors found Mandy Hopkins, of Dall Street, Burnley Wood, not guilty of the same offence. She had insisted she had no knowledge of what was inside the barrels when they were delivered to her property.
Earlier in the proceedings Scott Grindley, 24, of Hollingreave Road, Burnley, alleged to have transported the benzocaine to Middleton in Greater Manchester, was also cleared of the same offence.
Stephen Baylis, 31, also from Milton Keynes and Hall’s former housemate, was also found not guilty ot the drugs charge.
And a not guilty verdict was also entered against Jade Chadburn, 19, of Arran Street, Burnley, said to be Pounder’s girlfriend at the time, after the prosecutiong offered no evidence before the trial began. Pounder and Hall will be sentenced later.
Speaking after the case, Det Insp Graham Gallagher, of Lancashire Police’s serious and organised crime unit said the drugs gang was importing 20 times the legitimate quantities of benzocaine than leading legitimate drugs companies.
He added: “There is no lawful reason for any person to be in possession of benzocaine in the quantities found during this investigation, other than for criminal purposes.
“In seizing this benzocaine, Lancashire Constabulary has prevented a significantly large amount of a cutting agent from being mixed with illegal drugs and making its way on to our streets where it could have caused damage to our communities.”
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