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£1m-a-week cocaine factory found by accident, court told

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    £1m-a-week cocaine factory found by accident, court told
    Jury hears police discovered 'industrial-scale' drugs ring during routine 999 call


    Police attending a routine 999 call stumbled across a huge cocaine factory that netted a gang led by a former schoolteacher almost a million pounds a week, a court heard today.

    Officers were amazed to find a 10-tonne hydraulic press, allegedly used to cut cocaine with other substances such as caffeine and ketamine, and an "arsenal" that included rifles, handguns and stun grenades.

    The operation was allegedly run by former teacher James Waithe from a flat in Bristol, the city's crown court was told.

    Waithe, 47, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and possession of firearms and explosives.

    Stephen Mooney, prosecuting, told the jury that one kilo of pure cocaine would be bought for £33,000, then cut with caffeine or other agents and sold on for huge profit. He said the "industrial-scale" drugs ring involved "mind-boggling" sums of cash and netted the gang between £600,000 and £900,000 a week.

    The jury was told the gang of four moved into the drugs trade after members of a family drugs gang were jailed in 2007. The sophisticated operation was allegedly uncovered when a neighbour called 999.

    Martial arts expert Waithe's judo suit and documents were found in the property. But when questioned by police, he claimed he rented the flat to another man.

    Also on trial is Robert Brooks, 63, of no fixed address, who is currently serving four and a half-years in jail for possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

    In this case he has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to the supply of cocaine, but denies the firearms charges.

    Craig Rodel, 46, of Totterdown, Bristol, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, and possession of firearms and explosives. Grant Richmond, 29, of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, also pleaded guilty to the drugs and weapons charges.

    The case continues.


    Steven Morris
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 October 2009 13.58 BST


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/22/cocaine-factory-police-stumble

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Police discover Britain's biggest cocaine factory after responding to 999 call
    Police attending a routine 999 call to a burglary stumbled across Britain's biggest cocaine factory worth £50 million a year, a court has heard.

    The discovery, which included an "arsenal" of weapons, came after officers responded to an emergency call by a neighbour of the flat in Bristol.

    They found a cache of rifles, handguns, stun grenades and a 10-tonne hydraulic press used to cut pure cocaine with other drugs such as caffeine and ketamine.

    Bristol Crown Court heard the four man gang, run by James Waithe, a former school teacher, made up to £1 million a week.

    Waith, 47, has pleaded not guilty to conspitacy to supply cocaine and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, and possession of firearms and explosives.

    Robert Brooks, 63, of no fixed address, currently serving a four year prison term for another offence, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to the supply of cocaine, but denied the firearms charges.

    Brooks was jailed for four-and-a-half-years in July last year for possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

    Craig Rodel, 46, of Totterdown, Bristol, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, and possession of firearms and explosives.

    Grant Richmond, 29, of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, also pleaded guilty to the drugs and weapons charges.

    Prosecuting, Stephen Mooney said the "industrial scale" drugs ring involved "mind-boggling" sums of cash.

    Richmond later told the court: "I knew Waithe was a teacher and he was into his judo. Rodel paid him £2,000 a week to use a flat he had. He always paid in cash.

    "Rodel had his fingers in just about everything really. I was just given packages and told a name and number and when to deliver them.

    "He was moving heroin, MDMA, cocaine and ecstasy in big quantities, up to ten kilos at a time or hundreds of thousands of tablets.

    "The first time I picked up a firearm for him it was a sawn-off shotgun. It shocked me because I wasn't used to being around firearms.

    "Rodel could get his hands on just about anything. He was a bit of a wheeler dealer."

    The trial continues.


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn...ine-factory-after-responding-to-999-call.html
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Olympics judo expert 'tortured debtors who owed money to £50m-a-year drugs gang'

    An Olympic judo expert acted as an enforcer for a £50million-a-year drugs gang and tortured those who owed them money, it has emerged.

    James Waithe, 47, was arrested after police attending a routine 999 burglary stumbled upon a massive cocaine factory at a flat he owned.

    Bristol Crown Court heard that Waithe let his flat to Craig Rodel, 46, who along with Rupert Brooks, 63, and Grant Richmond, 29, lived the high life on a £1million-a-week turnover.

    Officers unearthed a cache of rifles, handguns, stun grenades, ammunition and a 10-tonne hydraulic press used to cut pure cocaine.

    The gang spent millions on diamonds, limited edition Porsches and watches including brands such as Rolex, Breitling and Cartier.

    Former teacher Waithe, who represented Britain in the Commonwealth Games, was the gang's enforcer to ensure debts were paid.

    The jury heard how Waithe, who also represented Barbados at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, once tortured a man by putting his hands into an electric toaster.

    Richmond, who turned gave police information on the gang in return for a reduced sentence, described one horrific attack in Hartcliffe, Bristol, to a shocked jury at Bristol Crown Court.

    He said: ‘Rodel told me Andy Murray was tied to a chair by him and Waithe and beaten by a set of nun-chuks.


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    Jailed Satanist who murdered cellmate for kicks has 'life meaning life' sentence cut despite saying he would kill again
    Routine 999 burglary call leads police to Britain's biggest cocaine factory making £50m a year
    ‘He put the lit end of a cigarette into his ear and Waithe stuck his hands in a toaster. I believe he paid up after that.’

    Richmond claims Waithe acted as Rodel's minder and debt enforcer.

    He said: ‘Everywhere Rodel went Waithe went - he was his minder. I knew he was an expert in judo and a bit of a fitness fanatic.

    ‘He has got a reputation for violence. He would sit down with a person and tell them to make a payment plan or they will get hurt.

    ‘If they didn't pay they would get hurt and Waithe did the hurting. The payment plan meant if they missed a week they paid double.

    ‘If you missed payment completely you got your legs broken.’

    The four-man drugs gang were brought to justice in June 2008 after a concerned neighbour called police to report a burglary at a flat owned by Waithe.

    Stephen Mooney, prosecuting, told the court that when officers attended the address in Highridge, Bristol, they found an ‘industrial scale’ drug-cutting factory.

    Richmond revealed the gang owned a total of four properties situated throughout Bristol, which were used to store and cut the drugs they were selling.

    He alleged that the money received from their operations would be counted every Sunday and claimed the maximum he saw in a week was £900,000.

    He said: 'Whenever we attended an address to cut cocaine we would all wear latex gloves. It was basically a same-day delivery service for cocaine.

    ‘The ingredients were always available to cut it, sell it and move on. It was always ready to hand and I remember one other time we sold 200,000 pills in one go.

    ‘Rodel put a lot of money into jewellery, watches, diamonds and gold. I know there was one diamond worth a million pounds and about one million pounds in watches, Breitling, Rolex and Cartier.

    ‘He had a yacht abroad. He had a lot of cars including a Porsche, two BMWs a CL500 Mercedes.

    ‘The silver Porsche was a rare one that raced at Le Mans because there was a plaque on the dashboard.

    ‘He had a diamond selling website called Rodel Diamonds and spent a lot of money setting that up.’

    Richmond revealed ‘wheeler dealer’ scrap yard owner Rodel, who served in the Navy, struck up a partnership with Brooks, nicknamed Manchester Bob, after another drugs gang was jailed.

    He told the court they sold cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and MDMA and also supplied firearms including handguns and rifles to dealers.

    He said: ‘I knew Waithe was a teacher and he was into his judo. Rodel paid him £2,000 a week to use a flat he had. He always paid in cash.

    ‘Rodel had his fingers in just about everything really. I was just given packages and told a name and number and when to deliver them.

    ‘He was moving heroin, MDMA, cocaine and ecstasy in big quantities, up to ten kilos at a time or hundreds of thousands of tablets.

    ‘The first time I picked up a firearm for him it was a sawn-off shotgun. It shocked me because I wasn't used to being around firearms.’

    Waithe, 47, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, and possession of firearms and explosives.

    Robert Brooks, 63, of no fixed address, currently serving a four year prison term for another offence, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to the supply of cocaine, but denied the firearms charges.

    Craig Rodel, 46, of Totterdown, Bristol, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, and possession of firearms and explosives.

    Grant Richmond, 29, of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, also pleaded guilty to the drugs and weapons charges.The trial continues.


    By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...d-debtors-owed-money-50m-year-drugs-gang.html
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