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4 February 2015, 10:32
A Beds man is amongst three who have been jailed for a total of 34 years for drugs offences and money laundering.
Perry Higley, 52, Stephen Waite, 44 and James Whiteman, 35, were jailed when they appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court today, Tuesday, February 3.
Higley, of Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, was jailed for 14 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, eight years for conspiracy to produce class B drugs to run concurrently, two years to run concurrently for each of four offences of possession of an offensive weapon, six months to run concurrently for possession of ammunition, and nine month to run consecutively for money laundering.
Waite, of The Dell, Wickford, and Whiteman of The Vineyards, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, were jailed for ten years each for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and five and a half years each for being concerned in the production of class B drugs to run concurrently.
DCI Stuart Smith of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit of the Kent and Essex SCD said: "This investigation began on February 11, 2013, following the arrest of James Whiteman and Perry Higley.
"Both men had been stop checked for drugs offences and these stop checks the led to the execution of two main search warrants in the areas of Stock and South Hanningfield.
"We discovered one main sophisticated set up involving a cultivation of cannabis and various weapons were recovered. From then a large complex investigation unravelled which led to seven people being arrested and charged for various offences including conspiracy to supply class A drugs, conspiracy to produce class B drugs and money laundering.
"It total over £23,000 in cash was seized as well as a drugs press, between 300-400 cannabis plants and 17 kilos of Benzocaine, safeguarding our communities before distribution.
"A seven-week trial at the end of 2014 resulted in six defendants being found guilty for various offences with three of the major players being given substantial jail sentences."