Businessman jailed after £2m worth of high-purity cocaine found in his van
A businessman has been locked up for six years after police found more than £2m worth of high purity cocaine in the back of his van.
Christopher Deering was sent to prison today over the discovery of the drugs outside a house in Tingley.
Leeds Crown Court heard officers went to the address on June 7 this year and saw Deering outside the property.
The officers spoke to the 40-year-old defendant before searching the van, which was parked nearby.
Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, said a total of 28 1kg blocks of high purity cocaine was recovered from boxes inside the vehicle.
Deering's home in Rodley in Leeds was searched and two further 1kg blocks of high purity cocaine were found in a wardrobe.
Mr Sharp said the cocaine had a wholesale value of £1.35m and a street value of £2.4m.
Deering's iPhone was searched and it was found to be fitted with encrypted software disguised as a calculator.
Notes were found on the device relating to the payment of 'wages'.
The notes included reference to a debt of £38,000 and £3,000 being paid on regular occasions.
Deering, of Georgian Square, Rodley, was interviewed by police and told officers he had acted as a courier by delivering the cocaine.
He stated that he was also a "custodian" in the operation as he stored drugs at his home.
Deering pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply.
Mr Sharp said: "The full extent of the drug dealing operation which the defendant was a part of has not yet become clear."
The prosecutor said it was the Crown's case that Deering was a "trusted lieutenant" in the operation.
Bernice Campbell, mitigating, said Deering has no previous convictions for drug dealing and was a man of previous good character.
The barrister said Deering has a wife and two children and had worked for a reprographics firm before setting up his own business.
Ms Campbell said Deering got into serious financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic and became involved in the illegal operation to support his family.
Ms Campbell said the defendant had cooperated with the police and showed them where the drugs were hidden in boxes in the van before handing officers the keys to his home.
Jailing Deering, Recorder Bryan Cox QC said: "Those who deal in substantial quantities of drugs, particularly class A drugs, must appreciate that if they are caught they will go to prison for for significant periods.
"You became involved in drug dealing during the pandemic, at a time of particular financial difficulty.
"I am satisfied that your imprisonment will have an adverse impact on your family and I am mindful of the impact that your imprisonment will have upon your children.
"It is agreed on all sides that you had a significant role in the operation."