By Court Reporter 29/08 Updated: 31/08 09:45
A MAN who was in charge of the distribution of more than £4m worth of cannabis from a Redditch business park has been jailed for eight years.
Malcolm Masters pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to supply various forms of the drug as well as possessing live ammunition without a firearms certificate.
The 52-year-old of Banners Lane was jailed for seven-a-and a half years for the cannabis conspiracy, with a consecutive six-month term for the ammunition.
Warwick Crown Court heard how he had previous convictions for drug and firearms offences – and in 2000 had been jailed for a total of nine years for conspiring to supply cannabis, concealing the proceeds of drug dealing and possessing a prohibited automatic pistol.
Four other men - Keith Langton, 29 and of Goodrich Close, Redditch, James Pratt, 28 and of Wolverson Road, Walsall, Arvinder Brar, 38 and from Middlesex, and Brian Randall, 60, from Essex - have already been jailed for their roles in the conspiracy.
Police were watching unit C4 on the Imex Business Park in April last year when articulated lorry - in which it is believed the drugs had been shipped in - arrived from Holland.
Masters made three trips in a green Isuzu 4x4 to a car park where, in turn, he met up with Pratt, Randall and Brar who had arrived in other vehicles.
Masters then drove the Fiat Ducato in which Pratt had arrived back to the unit where it was loaded with cannabis and then back to the car park, a procedure he repeated with the van driven by Randall.
When police stopped Pratt officers found 390 kilos of cannabis resin. Another 180 kilos of herbal cannabis were found in the Transit Randall was driving.
Other officers raided the unit while Masters was there loading Brar’s silver Toyota people-carrier and found a further 107 kilos of skunk cannabis, 297 kilos of resin and 69.4 kilos of compressed seeded cannabis, most of it packed into multi-coloured laundry bags with stickers on them.
Just over one metric tonne of various types of the drug with a street value of just over £4.1million was seized.
Cash, four more laundry bags, a phone on which Masters had received calls from Langton, Pratt and Randall, and 35 rounds of .22 rim-fire bullets were found in Masters' loft.
Lalith de Kauwe, defending, said Masters had a managerial role and there was no evidence he was higher up the ladder and had been brought in by a third party. He added 17 of the bullets were only 'partially functioning' and the rest were inert.
But Judge Marten Coates told Masters: "I conclude you have to be close to the source of the importation and expected substantial financial gain from this operation."
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