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Staffordshire: Newcastle drugs couple sentenced

September 25, 2012, 1:17 pm

A Newcastle couple involved in an international drugs ring were today, Tuesday 25 September, sentenced at crown court.

Le Ma and his partner Khai Ling Lim, both Chinese nationals, were arrested after drugs sent through the post were intercepted.

Staffordshire Police officers subsequently seized over £300,000 cash when they searched their home at The Limes, First Avenue, in November 2011.

At a previous hearing, Ma admitted conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, concealing criminal property, conspiracy to evade the prohibition on importation of controlled drugs and conspiracy to evade the prohibition on exportation of controlled drugs. The 31-year-old was jailed for four years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today.

Lim (34) had previously admitted concealing criminal property and was today handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

The pair were apprehended following a detailed investigation by the forces Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU). This centred on parcels containing a total of over 15 kilogrammes of white powder that were intercepted by UK Border Agency staff. The substance was identified as Class B drug Flephedrone – a stimulant that was outlawed in the UK in 2010 – with a street value of over £200,000.

The parcels were sent from Hong Kong and were destined for addresses in Newcastle, Stoke-on-Trent and Slough, which detectives linked to the couple through their inquiries.

As well as finding £319,870 in cash at their Newcastle home, officers also seized assets including BMW and Audi cars. (m/f)

Det Ch Insp Paul Clews, head of the forces SOCU, said: “Its clear that Ma and Lim were profiting from crime, living well above their means – Lim had no legitimate form of income and Ma worked as a betting shop assistant.

“Following todays sentencing, well be looking to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to strip Ma and Lim of their ill-gotten gains.

“We worked closely with the UK Borders Agency as part of our investigation which was linked to a larger inquiry into drugs importation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

“Were determined to tackle drug supply in all its forms through Operation Nemesis, the forces ongoing crackdown on drugs.

“Drugs can be a blight on our communities and are often linked to anti-social behaviour and violence.

“We always encourage people who have concerns about drugs in their communities to contact us on 101. Alternatively, if they want to remain anonymous, they can call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime

101 – The police non-emergency number

101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.
Find out more information about 101 by following this link.

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