A DRUGS boss who believed he was “untouchable” has been jailed for 10 years after police smashed his criminal empire.
Property developer Barry Armstrong, 47, was sentenced to a total of 10 years and nine months after he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Armstrong, of Denetop Bungalow, Shotton Colliery, denied cocaine dealing in the Shotton Colliery area between March and September 2011.
But he was found guilty by a jury after a two-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
Armstrong had pleaded guilty to tax evasion at an earlier hearing.
Detective Constable Graham Low, of Durham Constabulary’s organised crime team, said afterwards: “Barry Armstrong built up an empire over a considerable period of time and considered himself to be untouchable.
“No criminal is untouchable and under the force’s Operation Sledgehammer banner we are committed to bringing to justice those who, like him, are involved in organised crime.”
Co-accused Colin Denholm, 58, of The Tilery, Shotton Colliery, also stood trial on conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was acquitted.
A third man, David Ganning, 49, of Asquith Street, Thornley, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was jailed for five years.