Heroin dealer jailed and £77,000 cars seized
Updated 5:35pm Wednesday 2nd April 2014 in News
A YORK man who lived a lavish life on the proceeds of his drug dealing business has been jailed for more than three years.
Percy Smith, 43, was sentenced at York Crown Court on Tuesday, after he admitted dealing heroin and cannabis and money laundering.
Smith, of Water Lane Caravan site, had been found growing and selling cannabis, dealing heroin and using the profits to fund a materialistic lifestyle for his family, with brand new cars worth £77,000 and expensive technology.
The case began when police raided Smith’s home on the Water Lane site in June 2011, where they found the remnants of a cannabis farm - including lamps, fans and a growing tent - and around £6,000 in cash, the court heard.
They went back three months later to find a stash of heroin worth more than £3000 hidden in grass just feet away from his caravan, and more cash.
Prosecutor Shaun Dodds said that when Smith’s mobile phone was examined police found messages dating back several months from known drug addicts and dealers in York about the supply of drugs.
Investigations of his finances showed almost £160,000 passing through his family’s accounts in two years, he added.
And although Smith apparently lived on benefits, he had been able to buy four vehicles worth £77,000.
Acting Sergeant Toby Gorwood led the financial investigation. Speaking after the sentencing he said: “Percy Smith was well supported by the state but undertook criminal activities over a significant period of time with the sole aim of financing a materialistic and self-indulgent lifestyle he could not otherwise afford.
“Smith selfishly fuelled drug abuse in York and the associated criminality which comes with it. This is something which is abhorrent to law abiding people who work hard for their living.”
For Smith, barrister Tarryn Turner told the judge her client had pleaded guilty to his crimes at the earliest opportunity and had been waiting since November 2012 for sentence.
Mrs Turner said: “I have lost count of the number of times this case has been listed before the court and Mr Smith has come to court with his bags packed, ready to face prison.”
But the judge in the case, Recorder James Baird, ignored Mrs Turner’s pleas for a suspended sentence and said: “I have no doubt you were running a drugs supply business from your home.”
He handed down a three year prison sentence for heroin dealing, nine months for cannabis dealing, and a one year concurrent sentence for money laundering.
Court proceedings have already led to cash found at Smith’s caravans being forfeited, and on Tuesday Recorder James Baird set the timetable for more court hearings to confiscate the proceeds of the sale of the four vehicles.
A/Sgt Gorwood added: “The seizure of Smith’s assets and subsequent imprisonment sends a clear warning to those who engage in criminal activity. While you may benefit from your crimes in the short-term, your actions will catch up with you and the police will use the law to its full potential to deprive you of your freedom as well as any financial rewards of that unlawful lifestyle.”
Smith was sentenced beside 47-year-old Richard Miner, of Cale Street, London, who had admitted conspiracy to supply heroin.
The court heard that Miner, a recovering heroin addict, had been intimidated into running errands for Smith, some related to heroin dealing, between June and September 2011. His barrister Catherine Duffy said Miner has a schizo affective disorder and a personality disorder, and is being treated for his addictions and mental health problems.
She added: “Mr Miner is a very vulnerable man who was subject to violence and threats of violence from people associated with Smith.”
The judge gave him a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years, with supervision and community mental health treatment requirements.