A Stone man has started a 10-year jail sentence after being caught in an undercover police operation that saw more than £334,000 worth of cocaine seized.
Andrew Pettit, aged 45, and his 44-year-old brother Michael Pettit; Kevin Marsden, aged 47; and Paul Cooper, 30, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on 24th September.
- Andrew Pettit of Izaak Walton Street, Stafford, received 12 years’ imprisonment
- Kevin Marsden, of Poplar Close, Stone, was given 10 years
- Michael Pettit, of Weston Road, Stafford, received six years
- Paul Cooper, of Fancy Walk, Stafford, received three years.
The Pettit brothers and Marsden had been found guilty of conspiring to supply a controlled drug – cocaine – at a hearing on 20th July, while Cooper pleaded guilty to the same charge at a hearing in 2014.
Sentencing the men, Judge Chambers said it had been “an organised, professional operation sourcing cocaine from Liverpool for distribution in Stafford”. He classed Andrew Pettit as “the principal organiser/director” of the operation, with Marsden playing “a significant role” and Michael Pettit “a lieutenent to his brother Andrew”.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Supt Simon Duffy, said: “These convictions bring about a successful conclusion to a determined, proactive, operation targeting an organised crime group that was responsible for trafficking cocaine throughout mid and north Staffordshire. Cocaine brings problems to our town centre nightlife and ultimately misery to many users and their families. Staffordshire Police remain committed, through Operation Nemesis, to bring to justice those responsible for dealing these drugs.
“We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring these men to justice and are pleased to see a positive outcome. We hope it sends out a strong message to anyone considering taking a similar path that drug dealers will be prosecuted.”
At a three-week trial in July, the prosecution said that police surveillance began in April 2013. Michael Pettit co-ordinated a meeting between Marsden and Cooper and officers were following Marsden’s car when it stopped in Greyfriars and Cooper got out.
Cooper was arrested as he walked away, dropping a package and a mobile phone. Marsden’s fingerprints were on the package which contained an ounce of high purity cocaine with a potential street value of £7,360.
Although Cooper was arrested, Marsden was left free to enable officers to observe his activities. His BMW car was later observed outside the Water Mill public house, Mill Street, Stafford, and Marsden seen receiving a roll of money. Marsden then visited Andrew Pettit’s home in Stafford and a phone call was made at that time to a number in Liverpool setting up the collection of the cocaine.
Marsden was seen leaving the house with a carrier bag and was followed driving his BMW to Liverpool. He was stopped driving south on the M6 shortly after 10pm on May 23, 2013 with a bag containing a kilo of high-purity cocaine in the boot. The drugs had an estimated street value of £272,000.
The following day searches of Marsden’s workplace recovered a further quarter of a kilo of cocaine with a potential street value of £62,520.