05:10PM, Tuesday 24 May 2022
Paul Jarrow (left) and Slough's Baber Azim (right) were sentenced today (Tuesday)
A courier from Slough who was caught with a kilogram of cocaine has been jailed for his role in a drugs ring in the North East of England.
Cleveland Police arrested 43-year-old Baber Azim in 2018 after an interception by officers revealed he was transporting a haul of cocaine and cash.
Azim was working for a drugs ring which shipped high purity cocaine and amphetamine into the South Tyneside region.
Officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit carried out a lengthy period of surveillance of the group between January 2017 and May 2018.
The gang was headed by 52-year-old John Allcock, from Durham, and 36-year-old Carl McAlindon, from Jarrow.
Its operation included buying and sourcing drugs from members of an organised criminal group in the North West of England.
During a complex investigation, Allcock was tracked regularly travelling to Liverpool and Manchester and was spotted visiting an industrial unit which was believed to store large quantities of amphetamine.
The drugs lynchpin later bought the industrial unit and employed couriers to deliver illicit goods across the region.
Officers started apprehending members of the drugs ring in September 2017 with Azim being caught by police the following year.
Azim pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering and was sentenced to four years and nine months behind bars at Newcastle Crown Court today (Tuesday).
A further six members of the criminal group stood trial earlier this year and jurors heard how the men attempted to evade detection by conducting shady face-to-face business meetings via encrypted devices.
In total, the group were handed prison sentences of more than 61 years.
Speaking at the end of the trial, Detective Inspector Steve Pescod from NERSOU, said: “I hope this case send a strong message to anyone who thinks they can turn a profit from supplying illegal, harmful substances in our towns and cities.
“Allcock ran a sophisticated and significant operation worth millions of pounds, which, thanks to the hard work and dedication of officers has now been shut down, and the proceeds seized.
“Thanks to this investigation, members of two organised crime groups, ranging from couriers to those leading the businesses were brought before the courts and held accountable for their shameless and despicable offending.”
The sentences from the case were as follows:
John Allcock, 52, of Durham, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and money laundering and was sentenced to 21 years in jail.
Carl McAlindon, 36, of Jarrow, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and money laundering and was sentenced to 13 years in jail.
Bernard Sewell, 41, of Hebburn, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs but found not guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was sentenced to four and a half years in jail.
Mark Hiscock, 46, of South Shields, was found guilty of money laundering but found not guilty of conspiracy to supply class B drugs and was sentenced to one year in jail.
David McFarlane, 53, of Jarrow, was found guilty of money laundering but found not guilty of Conspiracy to Supply Class B drugs and was sentenced to one year in jail.
Glen Stoddart, 53, of Hartlepool, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, money laundering and participating in activities of an Organised Crime Group and was sentenced to five and a half years in jail.
Paul Marrow, 62, of Liverpool, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was sentenced to 11 years in jail.
Baber Azim, 43, of Slough, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering and was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail.
Michael Vassallo, 42, of South Shields, had been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs but was found not guilty by the jury during the trial.
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.