Dunstable man part of huge drugs gang

A Dunstable man was part of a drugs gang caught with cocaine and cannabis worth a combined £5.2m, which has been jailed for a total of 68 years and seven months.

Tuesday, 19th July 2016, 10:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th July 2016, 11:55 am

Mark Hastie, 47, of Hailey’s Way, Dunstable, was linked through phone records to an eleven man gang.

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) carried out a large scale investigation into the shipment and distribution of the drugs from Essex across the eastern region in 2014.

In total ERSOU recovered 3.69 tonnes of cannabis resin worth £4.6m on a furniture lorry, along with two seizures of cocaine with an estimated street value of £600,000.

Eight of the 11 men convicted of roles within the organised gang were sentenced last week.

Officers initially stopped a taxi in Braintee, Essex, on 30 September 2014 and discovered 1kg of cocaine with a purity of 75 per cent in a laptop bag. Darren Mullarkey, 26, was the sole passenger in the vehicle and was arrested.

Detectives were able to link Mullarkey, of North London, to Luke Jewitt, 30, of Braintree, Essex, Louis Dibra, 32, of Halstead, Essex, and Robert Strachan, 38, of North London.

Then on 10 October, 3.69 tonnes of cannabis resin was seized from the trailer of a lorry at Temple Wood Industrial Estate in Essex. It had travelled from Malaga, Spain, and the drugs were found concealed in 187 boxes hidden behind low-quality furniture.

Five men were arrested - two were associates of Thomas Aldridge, 31, of Great Dunmow, Essex, who had connections with Xpert Storage where the drugs were seized.

Then, on 20 November 2014 Patrick Carroll, 31, ofBraintree, Essex, and Barry Murphy, 57, of Braintree, Essex, were arrested in Dunmow. Officers discovered 2kg of cocaine and a total of £44,000 in cash.

Carroll is Aldridge’s brother-in-law and was also linked to Dibra, Nderim Muliu, 24, of Braintree, Essex, Stephen Chambers, 45, of Brighton, and Mark Hastie, through phone records.

Aldridge, Jewitt, Dibra, Chambers, Hastie, Muliu, Strachan and Mallarkey were sentenced to a total of 68-and-a-half years at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday last week.

Carroll, Murphy and Aston Walker had been previously jailed in 2014 and 2015 for a total of 16 years and four months.

Hastie was jailed for a total of 11 years.