A jeweller and a restaurant boss caught red-handed with the biggest single haul of class A drugs seized in West Yorkshire have each been jailed for 16 years.
Paul Wright and Daniele Spinola were arrested with almost £3 million of heroin as they drove in convoy across Bradford in a black Mercedes CLK convertible and a black Audi A4
A search of the boot of Spinola’s Audi revealed five sports bags containing 120 packaged blocks of heroin, Bradford Crown Court heard.
When police raided Spinola’s extensive home, protected by electronic gates, in Urmston, Manchester, they found documents relating to a Bentley GT, Porsche Cayenne and Ferrari Modena, as well as a gold Rolex watch.
Ampthetamines with a street value of £656,000 were found in the attic of one of his Italian restaurants, II Faro, in Manchester.
A Taser stun gun and two extending police-style batons were found at Wright’s flat in Radcliffe, Manchester, along with designer clothes and two expensive televisions.
Spinola and Wright were sentenced for conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to possess amphetamine with intent to supply.
Wright, 55, pleaded guilty and Spinola, 53, was found guilty by a jury after a trial at Bradford Crown Court.
Wright also admitted possession of the stun gun, a prohibited weapon.
Prosecutor Nicholas Worsley told the court yesterday the men were stopped in Ingleby Road, Girlington, at 5pm on May 10 last year.
Mr Worsley said the defendants were on their way back to Manchester after they were due to meet three Asian men in a silver hatchback car.
“This is the largest single seizure of class A drugs in West Yorkshire,” Mr Worsley told the court.
Mark Ford, barrister for Wright, said he was pressured into the conspiracy to repay a £100,000 loan to buy jewellery. A once-successful businessman, his house and jewellers’ shop had been sold and he was left with nothing. “His is a cautionary tale to those who think drug trafficking is glamorous and lucrative,” Mr Ford said.
Franco Tizzano, for Spinola, said: “He has lost everything and is a broken and defeated man.”
His two restaurants had closed down and the staff had lost their jobs.
Judge John Potter told Wright and Spinola: “You both played a major and trusted role in this conspiracy.”
He branded it “wicked” criminality at a very high level.
Judge Potter commended Detective Inspector Warren Stevenson and his team for their roles in a “thorough and comprehensive inquiry”.
Telegraph and Argus 21st July 2011