A POLICE operation aiming to halt the flood of drugs into North East Wales caught a young man alleged to be bringing in cocaine by taxi from Liverpool.
Thomas Foat, 22, admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine and offering to supply crack cocaine by text. He was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Mold Crown Court.
It emerged that when he was 16 he had been convicted of possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply.
The judge, the Recorder Geraint Walters, said despite his relatively young age, Foat had a significant criminal record, including, alarmingly, offences involving class A drugs when he was a teenager.
“Those who engage in the supply of class A drugs participate in a vile trade,” he said.
“You were intending to bring these drugs into North Wales – they come across the border in vehicles and are then distributed on the streets of our towns.”
The judge said those who worked in the courts saw day in, day out, the users who bought the drugs.
“We see at first-hand how their lives are destroyed,” he said.
The judge said it was remarkable that despite the fact that it was widely known what happened to those caught supplying class ‘A’ drugs, people continued to engage in it because of the financial rewards available – they believed that the risk of being caught was a risk worth taking.
The text messages showed Foat, of Ancient Meadows, Walton, Liverpool, was about to engage in significant drug dealing, he said.
The court heard how last September and October police launched an intelligence-led operation designed to stop drugs flowing into North East Wales.
Officers noticed a Volvo taxi was travelling into the area daily, sometimes twice a day.
They kept watch on the home of a known drug user in Ffordd Siarl in Leeswood, near Mold, and watched several vehicles, including the Volvo taxi, travel there.
Prosecutor David Mainstone said shortly after 10am on October 24 the taxi was stopped as it entered North Wales on the A494.
It contained three people and the defendant was the front seat passenger.
No drugs were found, he refused consent for an intimate body search and during the following week, when he eat and drank very little, he was kept under observation but no drugs ultimately emerged.
But when his mobile phone was analysed a number of incriminating text messages were found which showed he was involved in the sale of “strawberry haze” and “white” and was prepared to sell cocaine for £1,200 on credit.
A significant text instructed someone to collect and bag drugs and to “get to work tonight”, which the prosecutor suggested that he had substantial links and influence in the chain of supply.
He spoke of getting 280 deals from an ounce of the drug.
John Philpotts, defending, said his client played a significant but not a leading role.
He had been “refreshingly honest” and admitted that he wanted to make some easy money when his girlfriend was pregnant. There was no actual supply, he said.
“This was him setting it up and he was caught before he could actually begin to supply drugs,” Mr Philpotts told the court.
His daughter was newly born and he knew he had to change his ways.
After the meeting, Det Sgt Jon Russell, of North Wales Police, said such activities had a significant impact on areas like Leeswood and he hoped the sentence would act as a deterrent to others.
“This was an intelligence led police operation which fortunately brought this matter to a swift conclusion,” he said.