A drug gang who used a van with a secret hatch and encrypted phones to ship cocaine and high-purity amphetamines through the streets of Tyneside have been jailed for a total of 47 years
Organized crime group leader John Allock was locked up for 21 years and five members of his North East-based gang received sentences ranging from one to 13 years. While locked up at Newcastle Crown Court, a judge said they wasted tens of thousands of pounds in a trial that lasted 22 weeks despite overwhelming evidence against them.
Judge Tim Gittins told them, “You six are going to be convicted for your roles in a sophisticated business that preys on people’s addictions. Addictions that
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“It was serious organized crime. It was drug dealing worth tens of thousands of pounds each time, running into the hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions.”
The judge said the conspiracy involved “industrial quantities” of drugs supplied on a commercial basis. He added: “Furthermore, such was your arrogance and greed, despite the setbacks of twice intercepted drugs, you continued your illegal trade.”
During the complex investigation by agents from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit, Allcock and trusted Lieutenant Carl McAlindon were watched as they ran their illicit business, buying and procuring drug dealing with members of an organized crime group in the North West.
Allcock traveled regularly to Liverpool and Manchester to meet associates and was observed visiting an industrial unit which the group had access to which is believed to have been used to store large quantities of amphetamines, which he then bought and used by couriers to distribute. .
They attempted to evade detection by conducting shady business meetings face-to-face, as well as via encrypted devices and also used a number of tactics to thwart police activity.
After a long period of monitoring the group, officers took their first step and arrested Liverpool-based courier Paul Marrow on September 15, 2017 on the A1 in Durham.
With the help of a drug dog, an electronically controlled hidden compartment with a hatch was found inside his white van containing a block of high purity cocaine worth around £180,000 .
Then in November, police recovered nearly £50,000 in cash after a targeted vehicle stop in Lincolnshire. A search of the van revealed cash hidden under a fixed trunk liner under a stack of tools.
The dismantling of the group continued in 2018 when officers arrested two other smugglers, Baber Azim and Glen Stoddart.
Azim was caught driving through the Cleveland area in possession of cash and a kilo of cocaine, and Stoddart was arrested in Swansea after traveling there with £250,000 worth of cannabis and then collecting 21 £250 in cash.
Allcock, who was living in Spain, was later arrested with the help of the National Crime Agency in a final blow by officers determined to end the plot.
As part of their investigation, officers seized more than £120,000 in cash, 65 kilos of cannabis and blending agents, and Class A drugs.
John Allcock, 52, of Hillmeadows, Willington, County Durham, was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and money laundering. He was imprisoned for 21 years.
Carl McAlindon, 36, of Abbey Drive, Jarrow was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and money laundering. He was imprisoned for 13 years.
Bernard Sewell, 41, of Roman Road, Hebburn was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs but not guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was jailed for four years and half.
Mark Hiscock, 46, of Cheviot Road, South Shields was found guilty of money laundering but not guilty of conspiring to supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for 12 months.
Glen Stoddart, 53, of Mariner’s Point, Hartlepool, was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, money laundering and participating in the activities of an organized criminal group. He was imprisoned for five and a half years.
David McFarlane, 53, Hadrian Road, Jarrow was found guilty of money laundering but not guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for 12 months.
Paul Marrow, 62, of Rainford Road, Dentons Green, Merseyside, admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs Baber Azim, 43, of Kendridge Road, Slough admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering money. Marrow and Azim will be sentenced separately.
NERSOU Detective Inspector Steve Pescod said: “I hope this case sends a strong message to anyone who thinks they can profit from the supply of illegal and harmful substances in our cities.
“Allcock ran a sophisticated and important operation worth millions of pounds, which, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the officers, has now been closed and the profits seized.
“Through this investigation, members of two organized crime groups, ranging from couriers to corporate executives, have been brought to trial and held accountable for their shameless and despicable crimes. I am pleased that the jury found them guilty and that they were sentenced to long prison terms, because these sentences undoubtedly make our region a better place.
“These men were brazen delinquents who worked together to maximize profits, with no regard for the vulnerable people caught up in their business. Not only did they hide what they were doing by using encrypted phones and swapping SIM cards, but they also denied their role in court and refused to accept blame and take responsibility.”