Lock Up: Jailed Drugs Gang Ran Half A Million Cocaine Factory From Garage In UK

KENT, UK – The British cops arrested two men and seized over half a million dollars worth of cocaine and amphetamine from their homes which resulted in a five-year jail term for the duo.

Matthew Beal, 43, from West Malling, and Robert Edwards, 51, from Maidstone in Kent, United Kingdom were arrested in their homes during two separate raids on Nov 6 and Dec 1 last year.

An investigation led by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate revealed the two had been operating a drug-supply chain where Beal would transport large quantities of drugs to a lock-up in Wierton Place in the Kent village of Boughton Monchelsea.

“The upstairs room in the residence was converted into a processing room with scales, mixing agents, an electric blender, a vacuum packing machine, a hydraulic press, and other items,” said the police.

Edwards was reportedly responsible for processing the substances to maximize profit and used specialist equipment to press them into one-kilogram blocks, and his partner Beal would later collect the ready-packed drugs.

Upon the first police raid in November, Edwards was found inside his house wearing gloves covered with powder residue that subsequently led to his arrest.

Over 3 kilograms (6 pounds) of cocaine were recovered from the scene, as per the police.

During the second raid in December, Beal was arrested at his home in West Malling where large quantities of cocaine were discovered and seized, along with cutting agents, cash, a money-counting machine, and two encrypted phones.

Officers also found a hidden compartment in the boot of Beal’s BMW that held large quantities of amphetamine.

In total, 3.75 kilograms (8.3 pounds) of cocaine, 12.55 kilograms (27.7 pounds) of amphetamine, and 10.5 kilograms (23.1 pounds) of a cutting agent were seized from both locations.

Rolex watches and over $5, 000 in cash were also confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

During the hearing at Maidstone Crown Court, the pair pleaded guilty to multiple counts of drug possession with intent to supply. Edwards and Beal were both sentenced to five years in prison on Feb 9.

Data states that the drug offense in the UK is at a six-year high with around 225,660 cases registered in 2020 and Cannabis included the drug with the highest seizure rate in the country. Around 68,000 arrests happened across the country in drug-related offenses in 2020 which is an increase from its previous years’ statistics as per data.

London topped the charts of the region with the highest seizure rate as per data in 2018-19 in England and Wales with 3,500 seizures per million people, followed by the North East of England, and then Wales. The north-west of England had the lowest seizure rate among all regions.

(Edited by Praveen Pramod Tewari and Gaurab Dasgupta.)

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