A drug dealer – and a local link to an organised crime gang – kept cocaine with a potential street value of £470,000 on a boat in Huntingdon, a court was told.
Ben Cunningham, 49, of Wyton Moorings, Banks End, was found to be a key cog within a criminal network selling drugs in the Cambridgeshire area, buying, and selling drugs on a commercial scale.
He was arrested in March 2022 by ERSOU detectives whilst aboard the San Periel boat, which was moored on the River Great Ouse in Huntingdon.
A search found blocks of high purity cocaine along with more than £13,000 in cash and cannabis worth £7,000.
The investigation established that Cunningham was a local link to an organised crime group (OCG) which moved and sold cocaine across the UK.
Two members of the drug dealing network were jailed earlier this year for a combined 24 years.
Tracy Wicks, 49, of Bunyan Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire, was also aboard the San Periel when officers raided the boat, with detectives finding scales and more cocaine within a parcel addressed to her.
Officers established that Cunningham and Wicks had also been staying at The Old Bridge Hotel, near to their mooring, spending more than £900 on accommodation and food.
Cunningham was charged and subsequently pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine and cannabis, and possession of criminal property.
On Friday (4 August) he was jailed for eight years following a hearing at Cambridge Crown Court.
Wicks was previously handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine.
Detective Inspector Ian Mawdesley, from ERSOU’s Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: “Through our enquiries it was clear that Cunningham played a leading role in the sale and movement of cocaine in Cambridgeshire, and it’s positive that he will now spend significant time behind bars.
“Despite having no legitimate source of income, Cunningham and Wicks used the profit from the illicit sale of drugs to live a lavish lifestyle, frequently dining out and staying in expensive hotels. They paid no regard for the harm their actions were causing the local area.”
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