A Hartlepool dad was caught red-handed during a one-kilo cocaine deal.
Darren Crossley was one of 19 people arrested by police in Hartlepool and the North West during an investigation into the large scale trafficking of cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis.
The 31-year-old, of Galsworthy Close, Hartlepool, was caught ‘red-handed’ receiving a delivery of one kilogramme of cocaine in Hartlepool on November 1, 2013, and admitted a charge of conspiring with others to supply the drug last November.
But he insisted this transaction was his only involvement in the suspected £100million drug network operated between a Hartlepool organised crime group and drug gang members on Merseyside. Hartlepool men David Garside and Adrian Morfitt have been pinpointed as the ringleaders of the Hartlepool group and are awaiting sentencing.
A hearing at Teesside Crown Court was held to decide the extent of Crossley’s involvement after prosecutors argued a phone number linked to him had been used to help set up a drug exchange on October 8.
Peter Makepeace, prosecuting, said: “On November 1, a man called Christopher Evans was despatched from Merseyside in a Mondeo to head off towards Teesside,
“He was due to deliver a kilo of cocaine into central Hartlepool. Phone messages seen by the police from David Garside and Adrian Morfitt said ‘our lad Cross is quiet manpower, he is ok’.
“Evans drove into Hartlepool and met Crossley. Police had observed them and both were arrested.
“The cocaine was found to be 83% purity. The issue is whether Crossley was more widely involved than this one incident.”
The court heard police found packaging belonging to a phone ending in the number 1912, that was used in the set up of another exchange of 2kg of cocaine on October 8.
Under cross examination, Crossley said he had purchased the phone for his 10-year-old daughter at the end of September, but she had never used it.
He admitted he was friends with Morfitt, and the phone number was stored in the phone of Keith Watson, a leading member of the Liverpool end of the operation, under the name Aid’s Pal.
Judge Peter Armstrong concluded that the phone did belong to Crossley and it indicated a larger involvement in the operation, but not one that would necessarily alter his eventual sentence.
He will be sentenced in the week starting June 22.