Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cocaine Ring Is Busted; Drugs Gang Jailed for 12 Years Total

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cocaine Ring Is Busted; Drugs Gang Jailed for 12 Years Total

Article excerpt

Byline: Ben Guy

AGANG responsible for attempting to flood North Tyneside's streets with cocaine has been jailed for a total of more than 12 years.

The five men were caught after a six-month police operation between May and December last year, initially launched following the interception of pounds 100,000 of cocaine bound for the North East.

The operation focused on the home of wholesale dealer Steven Taylor, 25, of Rennington Close, Cullercoats, and the Cafe 34 sandwich bar, in Spence Terrace, North Shields, which was used to launder money from the sale of the drug.

The cafe was owned by former postman Anthony Goicoechea, 27, of Newington Drive, North Shields, who used a Lloyds TSB bank account set up in his name to deposit drug money.

His brother, Darren Goicoechea, 22, of Knotts Flats, North Tyneside, was involved in the laundering of the cash and also pleaded guilty to five counts of supplying the drug.

A police raid in Rennington Close and a nearby rented garage in December recovered 1.3kg of cocaine worth more than pounds 75,000, as well as a cutting agent and other drugs paraphernalia.

Prosecuting, Geoff Mason said of Taylor: "He was somebody who provided a safe house for drugs."

Newcastle Crown Court heard how each member of the gang had carried out a different role in the operation.

Howard Harrison, 26, of Ayres Terrace, North Shields, was described as a street dealer who was selling drugs on a regular basis in the Tynemouth, Whitley Bay and North Shields area.

The court heard how builder Harrison would regularly collect drugs from Taylor's home after finishing work and distribute them throughout the area before returning to top up his supply.

The police operation started after Stanton Clay, from North Shields, was arrested coming through the Tyne Tunnel from Liverpool last May with the two-kilo pounds 100,000 haul. …

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