SUPPLIERS caught in the midst of a conspiracy to move and sell around £100,000 of cocaine have been jailed for a combined 14 years.

Paul Foley, 43, was caught occupying a significant role in a class A drug supply operation in Clacton.

Ipswich Crown Court heard police seized more than 3kg of cocaine, valued between £83,590 and £126,530 by a drug expert, across October 30 last year.

The drugs were recovered following an investigation into Foley and his associates Steven Taylor, 42, and Arsen Nelaj, 37.

The court heard a meeting was observed between Nelaj and Taylor in Miller’s Barn Road, Clacton.

Marc Brown, prosecuting, said: “The meeting was clearly a drugs and cash handover.”

When Nelaj was stopped in his Ford Transit van a few miles away, five bundles of cash valued at £22,850 were found in a white plastic tub.

Encrypted messages were found on his phone.

Taylor returned to his home in Belsize Avenue, Clacton, and was seen to enter his property carrying a cardboard box.

Shortly after his arrival, Foley entered the block of flats and left ten minutes later with a black bag.

Police stopped Foley and found the bag contained 13 packages of compressed cocaine, valued between £25,000 and £35,000.

Executing warrants, police found £1,000 in cash and cocaine worth between £16,320 and £27,540 at Foley’s home.

At Taylor’s home, police found a dry press, heat sealer, plastic wrapping and two kilogram blocks of cocaine valued between £25,000 and £35,000.

Police recorded a number of meetings between Foley and Taylor between August and October last year, which Mr Brown said “inferred Foley had a leading role in middle market cocaine supply, with Taylor a trusted lieutenant, with roles including cutting, packaging and delivering”.

All three defendants admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, while Nelaj also admitted handling criminal property.

Barry Gilbert, mitigating for Foley, said his client, who has no previous convictions, had expressed “shame and regret” for his offending in a letter.

He said Foley, a father-of-three, had been trying to develop a piece of land when Covid struck, leaving him out of money.

He sadi: “He was approached and asked if would like to – as he put it to me – ‘sell a bit’, and he did.”

Mr Gilbert said Foley had been using cocaine recreationally and built up a £20,000 debt, resulting in “pressure” to carry out the illicit work.

Sasha Bailey, mitigating for Taylor, said her client’s offending resulted out of a battle with a “significant” class A drug addiction, which he had overcome while in prison.

She said her client’s work completing courses and helping other offenders while in custody had resulted in a full-time job offer.

“His prime focus when he is out of prison is with his young son,” she said.

The court heard in mitigation Nelaj had only performed the role of courier, with no “operational involvement” in the conspiracy.

Foley, of Kings Avenue, Clacton, was jailed for six years and four months, Taylor for four years and nine months and Nelaj, of Brinkburn Gardens, London, for three years and nine months.


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