Stoke-on-Trent drug importer is told to pay back £327k by judge
JAILED drug importer Le Ma has been ordered to repay more than £327,000 – following the biggest ever criminal cash seizure in Staffordshire.
The 31-year-old was locked up for four years in September after being found with nearly eight kilograms of an illegal substance and £320,000 at his home.
Now Ma, a Chinese national described as playing a 'significant' role in a drugs supply chain, has been ordered to repay £327,739 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
If he fails to do so he could face an extra four years behind bars.
Our range of cleaners are the perfect choice and you always know where to get the bags or belts from so you aren't left searching.
SAVE £10 off any of our cleaners ONLY with this voucher!!!
Print voucher and bring in (car park behind store) or hand to our driver for home delivery items.
see www.panasonic-hanley.co.uk for more details of the range & delivery area
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Saturday, June 08 2013
His partner, Khai Lim, was ordered to repay £16,535.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how Lim went to Staples, Hanley, on March 31, 2011 to send an envelope to China and a parcel to Malaysia. But they were checked and found to contain 1.68 grams of ecstasy and a mixing agent.
Prosecutor David Bennett said the organisation was sending drugs to chemists abroad to be reproduced and imported back to the UK.
Ma went to the same shop on April 7 chasing up the parcels but left after being told the parcel had been intercepted.
The court heard Border Agency staff at Coventry Airport checked parcels arriving from abroad and one, addressed to a property in Silverdale Road, Newcastle, contained class B drug flephedrone, as did another addressed to a storage facility in Tunstall. Customs intercepted six parcels, containing a total of 18 kilograms of the drug worth £270,000.
Police raided the home Ma and Lim shared at The Limes, First Avenue, Porthill, on November 24, 2011.
They found £319,870 cash, a money counting machine, a further eight kilograms of flephedrone worth £120,000, plastic bags, latex gloves, a plastic sealing machine and documentation.
Lim, aged 35, a Malaysian, who worked at bet365, pleaded guilty to concealing criminal property, namely £319,870.
Ma admitted conspiracy to evade the prohibition on importation of a class B drug; conspiracy to supply a class B drug, conspiracy to evade the prohibition on the exportation of a controlled drug and concealing criminal property.
Judge Paul Glenn jailed Ma, but said Lim's role was limited and sentenced her to 12 months, suspended for two years, with 12 months' supervision and 180 hours in unpaid work.
Yesterday the same judge said Ma benefited from his criminality by £500,000, and made a confiscation order for the available amount of £327,739. It must be paid by July 15 or he could face a further four years in jail.
Judge Glenn found Lim benefited by £416,039.25 and ordered her to pay the available amount of £16,535 by July 15 or face 12 months in prison.
Detective Constable Richard Farmer, of Staffordshire Police, said: "This £319,870 represents Staffordshire's biggest ever seizure of cash. This shows crime does not pay."