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Two men from Kent have been found guilty of organising a £6m, countywide drugs ring.
Rodney John Stacey, 37, previously of Victoria Road, Folkestone, and Patrick Joseph Goodman, 64, previously of Mill Oak Road, Paddock Wood, were convicted yesterday of conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and ecstasy and money laundering.
The pair were caught after an undercover surveillance operation was launched in December 2011.
It was prompted by the discovery of cocaine with an estimated street value of £2 in a lorry at the Port of Dover in February that year. The driver was arrested and interviewed and denied all knowledge of the drugs but mobile phone details, including one number saved under the name ‘Boss Man’, were found to be registered to Stacey.
In November 2011, officers became aware of another drug-runner who was stopped by French authorities attempting to smuggle around 80 kilos of amphetamine between France and Belgium who also had telephone links to Stacey.
Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Organised Crime Unit began keeping Stacey under surveillance in December 2011 and witnessed a number of meetings between him and Goodman at cafes in and around the Ashford area in the following months.
Covert surveillance was also carried out on Goodman by officers between December and his arrest on 24 July 2012. During that time, Goodman had numerous meetings at cafes in the Paddock Wood and Ashford areas with Stacey and members of their drugs ring, including Stephen Powers, Mark Birch, Michael Rodemark, and Toby Fieldhouse where cash or drugs were exchanged.
On 12 December 2011, one member of the group, Russell Hollands, 53, was arrested after officers found £152,000 worth of ecstasy tablets disguised as coffee in a van following a meeting with Goodman. Hollands, formerly of Lurkins Rise, Cranbrook, was later sentenced to 56 months in jail for possession with intent to supply.
On 14 March, 2012, police intercepted a plastic carrier bag containing £64,250 in cash from a meeting involving Goodman and Rodemark.
But on 3 May 2012, officers tried stopping Stacey in his black BMW X5 in Aldington using their cars to block his vehicle in. But Stacey attempted to flee by reversing into two police cars, almost running over an officer and causing damage to both vehicles.
The BMW then drove off but as it approached a tight bend it careered through a hedge and came to rest in a ditch.
The force of the collision flung the vehicle’s boot open and a blue holdall found to contain 4.91 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of £1.47m flew out on to the ground. Stacey was arrested as he tired running through a nearby field.
A further search of Stacey’s home found 205 grams of amphetamine stored in his freezer and £14,000 in cash hidden in his kitchen.
Also on 3 May, Stephen Powers was arrested at his car dealership in Ivychurch where £5,000 stored in a carrier bag was found.
Following a meeting with Michael Rodemark, Toby Fieldhouse was arrested on 4 July after police found 1 kilo of herbal cannabis on the front seat of his car. The following day, a warrant of Rodemark’s home address found around £10,000 in cash and six kilos of cocaine with a street value of between £1.5m and £2.2m. He was later arrested the same day.
Goodman was arrested on 24 July at his home and later charged with offences of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and money laundering.
Stacey was charged with conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and money laundering.
Both were found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court and will be sentenced later this week along with:
• Michael Rodemark, 58, for Pearsons Green Road, Tonbridge who admitted offences to supply controlled drugs and money laundering,
• Toby Fieldhouse, 39, of Albion Road, Tunbridge Wells, for conspiracy to supply controlled drugs,
• Mark Birch, 49, of Longfield Place, Maidstone, convicted of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs,
• Stephen Powers, 57, of Bromley Green Road, Ruckinge, Ashford, who has been convicted of conspiracy to supply,
• Andrew Hamilton, 66, of Sellindge, Ashford, convicted of conspiracy to supply drugs.
Investigating officer Detective Constable David Friend from the Kent and Essex Serious Organised Crime Unit said: "Stacey and Goodman were the masterminds behind this extensive drugs and money laundering operation.
"Both of them worked hard at organising how they would smuggle their drugs into the country and how they would be distributed across Kent.
"These convictions have put two major players in the illegal drugs industry out of the game and serve as a warning to others that crime does not pay."