Jail for Liverpool gang who tried to bring thousands of pounds worth of heroin into Stoke-on-Trent
THREE men have been jailed for more than 11 years after police smashed a conspiracy to bring thousands of pounds worth of heroin into Stoke-on-Trent.
Officers seized £13,000 worth of the Class A drug when they stopped a Ford Focus on the A500, which had come from Liverpool.
In previous days the car had been seen making numerous visits to 35-year-old Jon White's home in Leason Road, Meir.
When police raided the property in January last year, they found cash and drugs equipment, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.
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Analysis of mobile phones found at the property showed White had been in regular contact with driver of the Focus, Stephen Silvano, and his passenger Emlyn Hughes, both from Liverpool.
Prosecutor Walter Bealby said: "Police searched the Leason Road property and found two sets of digital scales. Both had traces of drugs on them including cannabis, cocaine and heroin. Under the sofa they found £600 in cash that appeared to have been stuffed under there in a hurry."
Police checks found Silvano's car had been from Liverpool to Stoke-on-Trent 30 times between December 1, 2011 and January 9, 2012.
All three men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A drug.
The court heard White had not made a profit from his part in the enterprise.
His barrister Stephen Oldham said: "There's no evidence that all the drugs were destined for Mr White. He was buying relatively small amounts, some was for his own use. He wasn't making a profit, there was no high living.
"He's an individual whose life has been ruined by heroin. Over the last 12 months his lifestyle has improved and he is now taking methadone."
Judge David Fletcher jailed White, of Goldenhill Road, Fenton, for three years and six months.
White's girlfriend, Lisa Donohoe, aged 32, of the same address, had been charged with the same offence, but was found not guilty after the prosecution offered no evidence.
The court heard 43-year-old Hughes, of Bartlett Street, Liverpool, was a long-term heroin user who had made strides to change his life since the birth of his three-year-old granddaughter. He was jailed for five years and seven months.
Peter McCartney, representing 22-year-old Silvano, of Town Row, West Derby, Liverpool, said he was from a good family who were devastated by his actions. He was sentenced to two years and four months in prison.
Judge Fletcher told the trio: "It is an extremely murky pool you were all swimming in, and when you were bitten as a result of your involvement in this you can't be surprised when the system brings down its full weight and deprives you of your liberty."
Staffordshire Police yesterday welcomed the sentences.
DC Richard Hudson said: "Jon White in particular has caused problems in the community for some time, and he has now been jailed for a serious drug offence.
"The sentencing sends a clear message that Operation Nemesis is ongoing and we will continue to tackle drug dealers in the area."