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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Gang flooding drugs onto the streets of Newcastle facing lengthy sentences

Baber Azim has been convicted along with seven others at Newcastle Crown Court for his part in a high value drugs plot in the North-East.

Azim, of Kendridge Road, Slough, admitted Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering.

The 43-year-old was intercepted travelling through the Cleveland area in possession of cash and kilo of cocaine.

The gang utilised both a van with a trap door and encrypted phones in the scheme created to ship high purity cocaine and amphetamine worth more than £180,000 onto the streets of Tyneside.

Its leader, John Allock would make regular trips to Liverpool and Manchester to meet with associates. He was observed visiting an industrial unit which the group had access to, thought to have been used to store large quantities of amphetamine, which he later purchased and employed couriers to distribute.

During a complex investigation by officers from the North-East Regional Special Operations Unit, Allcock and trusted lieutenant, Carl McAlindon, were monitored as they ran their shameful business, buying and sourcing drugs from members of an organised crime group in the North-West.

Officers seized more than £120,000 cash, 65 kilos of cannabis and mixing agents, as well as class A drugs. They also recovered almost £50,000 in cash after a targeted vehicle stop in Lincolnshire. A search of the van revealed the cash secreted beneath a fixed heavy-duty boot-liner under a pile of tools.

During the 22-weel trial the court heard how the men attempted to evade detection by conducting shady face-to-face business meetings and also used a number of tactics to frustrate police activity.

In time, following lengthy surveillance on the group, officers made their first arrest in picking up Liverpool-based courier Paul Marrow on September 15, 2017, on the A1 in Durham. Azim and another gang member Glen Stoddart were arrested in 2018

Allcock, who was living in Spain, was later arrested with the help of the National Crime Agency in a final attempt to end the investigation. All werefound guilty are facing lengthy sentences.

John Allcock, 52, of Hillmeadows, Willington, County Durham was found guilty of Conspiracy to Supply Class A and B drugs and money laundering.

Carl McAlindon, 36, of Abbey Drive, Jarrow was found guilty of Conspiracy to Supply Class A and B Drugs and money laundering.

Bernard Sewell, 41, of Roman Road, Hebburn was found guilty of Conspiracy to Supply Class B drugs but found not guilty of Conspiracy to supply Class A Drugs.

Mark Hiscock, 46, of Cheviot Rorad, South Shields was found guilty of money laundering but found not guilty of Conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

David McFarlane, 53 of Hadrian Road, Jarrow was found guilty of money laundering but found not guilty of Conspiracy to Supply Class B drugs.

Glen Stoddart, 53, of Mariner’s Point, Hartlepool was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, money laundering and participating in activities of an Organised Crime Group.

Paul Marrow, 62, of Rainford Road, Dentons Green, Merseyside, admitted Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs

Baber Azim, 43, of Kendridge Road, Slough admitted Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering.

Michael Vassallo, 42, of South Shields had been charged with Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs but was found not guilty by the jury.

After the convictions, Detective Inspector Steve Pescod 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.”

“As part of Operation Sentinel, our dedicated initiative here in the North East which tackles organised crime, officers at NERSOU are working tirelessly alongside their Force counterparts to identify and stop people involved in this type of criminality, and bring them to justice.

Michael Vassallo, 42, of South Shields had been charged with Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs but was found not guilty by the jury.

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