Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bid to Grab Drug Assets

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bid to Grab Drug Assets

Article excerpt

Byline: By Brenda Hickman

Police try to seize gang leader's gains

Efforts are being made today to seize the proceeds of the gang behind a plot to flood the North East with pounds 1.5m of drugs.

Seizure orders have already been made against some of the eight-strong syndicate, five of whom, including the ringleader, are from the North East.

Today a bid to grab back cash and property from the Co Durham kingpin, John Stewart, is underway at a financial hearing at Newcastle Crown Court.

National Crime Squad officers seized 40,000 Ecstasy tablets, 248 kilos of cannabis and 7.5 kilos of cocaine with a street value of almost pounds 1.5m when they smashed the gang's supply.

An NCS spokesman said: "Stewart was the head of a criminal gang responsible for supplying large-scale amounts of drugs across the North of England.

"He was sentenced to 11 years in February this year after pleading guilty at Teesside Crown Court to conspiracy to supply Ecstasy and cannabis."

The NCS targeted the gang which had international connections in an undercover operation, codenamed Byng.

Along with the haul of Class A and B controlled drugs from Spain and Holland, they also recovered firearms, ammunition, CS gas canisters and even a stolen tractor unit and a lorry.

John Stewart, 36, of Front Street, Hutton Henry, was the mastermind of the drugs ring.

The court heard how he had international connections with drug dealers.

It was said he would often make trips to Amsterdam and Spain to negotiate deals.

Gang members were sentenced to jail terms totalling 51 and a half years and of those the five from the North East were given prison sentences amounting to a total of 33 and half years.

Neville Greylish, 37, of Fuschia Place, Blakelaw, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B controlled drugs and was sentenced to nine years.

Allan Hodgson, 22, of Wear View, Sunderland, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and firearm offences and was given four and a half years.

John Brett, 49, of Blyton Avenue, Ryhope, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Ecstasy and was sentenced to five years. …

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