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The drug conspiracies that lurked behind these ordinary front doors

The drug conspiracies that lurked behind these ordinary front doors

These are just some of the ordinary-looking front doors that covered the drug conspiracies that lurked behind them.

Properties across Merseyside were used as fronts for a cross-border cocaine and cannabis plot that would see the drugs peddled in Liverpool, Wirral and Wales.

The homes were used to hide the Class A and Class B drugs from plain site before they were to be distributed out to the region.

Five men were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday for their part in the scheme which saw ordinary Merseyside streets turned into the centre of the plot.

No.1 Jessamine Road, Birkenhead. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing at this address since

The gang were jailed for a total of almost 30 years over the drugs plot that was worth tens of thousands of pounds.

THE PLOT

The gang, leg by Darius Saidi-Bidokhti, had planned to supply cocaine and cannabis across Liverpool, Wirral and Wales.

Saidi-Bidokhti used the product of his criminal activities to pay for properties where he could continue the growth of his illegal business.

He would then travel to North Wales to supply the drugs to Thomas McCullum.

One house, at No.1 Jessamine Road in Birkenhead, was used as a cannabis farm, along with two properties on Southgate Road in Old Swan, where cannabis plants, hydroponics, equipment and bagged up cannabis was located.

At a flat in Archers Way, Birkenhead, where Tomas Morozovas lived, was discovered 20 kilograms of cannabis, while another 1kg of the same drug was located at the gang’s “safe house” at Atrium Apartments in Liverpool city centre.

No.12 Archers Way, Wirral. here is no suggestion of any wrongdoing at this address since

Thomas McCullum was a customer of Saidi-Bidokhti for cocaine and was supplied in significant quantities, up to one quarter a kilogram of the drug at a time.

In addition, he was instrumental in the installation of a cannabis farm in the loft of the house of his some-time girlfriend, Sophie Craven, who pleaded guilty at trial to allowing her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.

Claire Saidi-Bidokhti’s, Darius’ wife, allowed her business accounts to be used to launder cash generated from the illegal activities of her husband which was used to fund the deposit of the address on Jessamine Road.

Another farm was set up at David Price’s photographic business in Arrowe Park.

Liverpool Crown Court and Magistrates Court in Derby Square, Liverpool.

Text messages recovered from Mr Price’s phone demonstrated the length of time that the cannabis farm had been installed, the level of his knowledge and commitment to the cannabis production facility and demonstrated the links that Darius Saidi-Bidokhti and McDonald had with the unit in Arrowe Park.

Notable seizures of Class A drugs were made by watching detectives which included a quarter kilo of cocaine, seized on March 23, 2018, supplied from McDonald to Darius Saidi-Bidokhti, and then to Thomas McCullum and three quarters of a kilo of cocaine, seized on April 20, 2018, supplied by McDonald to Darius Saidi-Bidokhti.

Along with the large cannabis seizures, hundreds of cannabis plants were also found.

Darius Saidi-Bidokhti

Darius Saidi-Bidokhti was jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy
Darius Saidi-Bidokhti was jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy

Darius Saidi-Bidokhti was the controlling mind of the plot and channelled the product of his criminal activities into property which was itself used to cultivate cannabis, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

The married 33-year-old, from Birkenhead, played a “significant” role in the distribution of cocaine, buying wholesale amounts from accomplice Neil McDonald and transporting them across the Merseyside/Welsh border.

Saidi-Bidokhti also took a leading role in the widespread production of cannabis, Judge Stuart Driver, QC, said, and he was jailed for six years and six months.

Also sentenced was Claire Saidi-Bidokhti’s, Darius’ wife, 30, of Woodchurch Road in Birkenhead, who avoided jail, instead being ordered to carry out 70 hours unpaid work, and 15 days of a community rehabilitation activity.

Text messages between her and her husband, who have a nine-month-old daughter, before and after the purchase of the property, showed clearly that she was aware that her husband was a dealer in and cultivator of cannabis.

She accepted that she suspected monies used to fund Jessamine Road were criminal property, with the total amount she laundered valued at £10,000.

Neil McDonald

Neil McDonald was jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy
Neil McDonald was jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy

McDonald played the most serious role, the judge said, supplying wholesale amounts to Saidi-Bidokhti and having clear links to the original source of the drugs.

The 38-year-old, from West Derby, was handed the longest sentence, with a jail term of seven years and nine months.

Tomas Morozovas

Tomas Morozovas jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy
Tomas Morozovas jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy

The 41-year-old Tomas Morozovas was an “enthusiastic participant” in the Class B conspiracy, taking part in two separate cannabis plant productions, one of them clearly a nursery for further farms of the drug.

The Wirral man was jailed for four years.

Luke Francis

Luke Francis was jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy
Luke Francis was jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy

Luke Francis was an associate of McDonald, and occupied Flat 7 Atrium Apartments, in Liverpool city centre, which was set up as a drugs safe house.

The 22-year-old from Toxteth is the youngest of the gang.

He was arrested with Saidi-Bidokhti when three-quarters of a kilo of cocaine was seized following a search of a car they were in.

Francis, who has a record for supplying Class A drugs when he was a teenage addict and was caught supplying to an undercover police officer, was jailed for five years.

Thomas McCullum

Thomas McCullum/Rowlands jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy
Thomas McCullum/Rowlands jailed for his part in a big drugs conspiracy

Thomas McCullum [aka Rowlands] was a significant participator in the production of cannabis and the supply of cannabis and cocaine, it was heard.

McCullum was a customer of Saidi-Bidokhti for cocaine and was responsible for buying it in bulk from the gang boss and selling it down the criminal chain.

He was locked up for five years and eight months.

David Price

David Price, of Storrington Avenue, Croxteth, played a significant role in the conspiracy to produce cannabis, when he fell heavily into debt and allowed his premises to be used as a large-scale cannabis farm.

He has diabetes and high blood pressure, while also suffers with anxiety and depression, and prison would “hit him hard,” Judge Driver said.

He avoided a custodial sentence, and because he was regarded as having a low risk of re-offending, Price was given a two year sentence, suspended for two years.

Price must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

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Carl Hewitt

Finally, Carl Hewitt, 35, of Rock Grove, Old Swan, also avoided prison after it was heard how he looked after another cannabis farm at his home in Liverpool.

There was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation for him, Judge Driver said, and handed him a 10-month jail term, but suspended for one year.

In total, the gang were locked up for 29 years and 11 months.

Two women – Craven, 22, of Stanley Oak Road in Conway, north Wales, and 30-year-old Claire, Saidi-Bidokhti’s, Darius’ wife – also avoided jail yesterday.

All were sentenced for conspiracies to produce, or supply cocaine and cannabis.

Also part of these drugs conspiracies was 38-year-old Lee Atkins, the Bootle dad-of-one, who was earlier this month tragically killed by a crossbow shot close to his home in Monfa Road.

Mr Atkins would have been the tenth person on today’s drug conspiracy indictment.

He was behind the management of an address in Oak Street, Bootle, where 58 mature cannabis plants were discovered, prosecutors said.

When police raided this property, Mr Atkins was there.

Full story is available here.

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