Drugs gang plotted to import £2m of cannabis via Spanish onions

St Helens Star: Cannabis skunk and resin were concealed in a cover load of Spanish onions Cannabis skunk and resin were concealed in a cover load of Spanish onions

A DRUGS trafficker has been sentenced to six years in prison for his part in a plot to import £2million of cannabis into the UK via a cover load of Spanish onions.

Stephen Potter, 41, of Paisley Avenue, Blackbrook, pleaded guilty along with three other men to conspiring to bring cannabis into the country.

Investigators describe the plot as drug trafficking “on an almost industrial scale” and that Potter and his accomplices were a “key men” in a criminal network.

Co-defendants Andrew Soloman, 46, of New Beech Road, Stockport; Paul Farrell, 33, of Clinton Avenue, Fallowfield and Gary Wilkinson, 50, of Brook Drive, Leigh admitted the charge.

Soloman and Wilkinson were arrested following a raid on their industrial unit in Openshaw, Manchester in October 2012.

They had just taken delivery of around 374 kilos of cannabis skunk and resin which had been delivered by lorry, concealed in a cover load of Spanish onions.

Potter was arrested in connection with the importation on the same day at an address in St Helens, while officers arrested Farrell in a bar in the Trafford Centre the following month.

At a hearing at Manchester Crown Court last month Potter was jailed for six years and Soloman, who also admitted a charge of being involved in supplying heroin, received a nine year jail term.

At a subsequent hearing this week Wilkinson and Farrell were handed prison terms of six years and five years and six months respectively.

National Crime Agency regional head of investigations Steve Baldwin said: “This was drug trafficking on an almost industrial scale.

“These men were key players in a criminal organisation that had the ability to transport huge amounts of cannabis across international borders.

“They were motivated by the chance to make huge profits.

“Thanks to the hard work of our investigators they are now behind bars.”


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