Key players of Kent drugs ring to serve 63 years in jail
PUBLISHED: 16:37 22 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:46 22 March 2013
Group also guilty of money laundering
Seven key players in a county-wide drugs and money laundering ring worth around £6million have been sentenced to a total of 63 and a half years in prison.
Rodney John Stacey, 37, previously of Victoria Road, Folkestone, and Patrick Joseph Goodman, 64, previously of Mill Oak Road, Paddock Wood, were the masterminds behind the operation to supply cocaine, amphetamine and ecstasy.
But today, Friday, March 22, Stacey was sentenced to 18 years in jail while Goodman will serve 19 behind bars.
The pair were found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court on a number of charges to supply drugs and money laundering.
They were sentenced along with Michael Rodemark, 58, of Pearsons Green Road, Tonbridge, who will serve three and a half years, Mark Birch, 49, of Longfield Place, Maidstone, who will serve 10 years, Stephen Powers, 57, of Bromley Green Road, Ruckinge, who received eight years and Andrew Hamilton, 66, of Sellindge, Ashford, who was sentenced to five years.
A seventh member of the group, Toby Fieldhouse, 58, of Albion Road, Tunbridge Wells will be sentenced in April.
The group came to the attention of the police when 16 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of £2.3million was found concealed on a lorry entering the UK at the Dover port on in February 2011.
The driver was arrested and interviewed and denied all knowledge of the drugs but mobile phone data linked the driver to Stacey.
A complex undercover surveillance operation was launched by officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate and witnessed numerous meetings between Stacey, Goodman and other members of the group in cafes around the Paddock Wood and Ashford areas where drugs or cash were exchanged.
Officers arrested members of the group over the following months and seized £152,000 worth of ecstasy disguised as coffee, one kilo of herbal cannabis and a plastic carrier bag containing £64,250 in cash followings various meetings at cafes.
Stacey was eventually arrested in on May 3, 2012, after smashing two police cars with his BMW X5 in Aldington and crashing the vehicle in a ditch.
The force of the impact flung the vehicle’s boot open and a blue holdall containing 4.91 kilos of cocaine with a street value of £1.47million fell out on to the ground. Stacey was arrested as he tried to flee through a nearby field.
A further search of Stacey’s home found 205 grams of amphetamine and £14,000 stored in his freezer.
Rodemark’s home was searched on 5 July 2012 where officers found around £10,000 in cash and 6 kilos of cocaine worth up to £2.2million while Goodman was arrested at his home on 24 July.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Dave Friend from the Kent and Essex Serious Organised Crime Unit said: “These sentences have put major players in a Kent-wide drugs network behind bars and away from our streets where they dealt in significant quantities of drugs.
“Stacey and Goodman in particular were the masterminds behind this illegal operation and their sentences reflect their involvement in their conspiracy to supply drugs and money laundering.
“Today sends out a clear message to anyone thinking of dealing drugs – crime does not pay.”