Drug dealer jailed for 13 years
A drugs dealer who stashed £2.5 million of heroin and cocaine and £737,000 cash in the wall cavities of his Wolverhampton home has been jailed for 13 years.
Daljinder Bassi used his house in Stafford Road, Oxley, to cut, package and store huge quantities of Class A drugs before selling it on to dealers across the West Midlands.
Much of the cash and drugs were hidden beneath the insulation in the loft and under the floorboards in the airing cupboard, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
The drugs were of such high purity – up to 95 per cent – that Bassi was described as being near the top of the supply chain, close to the drugs' entry into the UK.
The 36-year-old's car was stopped by police on the M6, near the Junction 7 Great Barr turn-off, on October 27 last year after he had been seen acting suspiciously in Birmingham earlier in the day, said Mr John Evans, prosecuting.
Police found three kilos of heroin in three compressed blocks in the footwell of his Volkswagen Golf. A search of his home revealed the cash and a further 22kg of heroin, cocaine and mixing agents such as caffeine and paracetamol.
The cash hidden in the walls was only accessible from the loft using a home-made pulley system. The total drugs recovered would have had a total estimated street value of £2.5 million.
A hydraulic press, which investigators believe Bassi used to pack the drugs into blocks, and two ledgers comprised of customer details and their orders were also seized.
Bassi, who appeared in court on video link, pleaded guilty to four counts of possession with intent to supply heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, and a further charge of money laundering.
The court heard he had two previous convictions for conspiracy to supply drugs and possession of ammunition without a certificate for which he was jailed in 2009 for 10 years.
Defending him, Mr Balbir Singh argued he was further down the supply chain than suggested, "more a trusted worker who looked after stuff and did some running around."
He had stayed out of trouble for four years following his release from prison but had started using drugs again after the breakdown of a relationship, which led to him getting into debt and dealing, said Mr Singh.
But Judge Dean Kershaw concluded the high purity of the drugs, the presence of the hydraulic press and the huge amount of cash found indicated Bassi had a leading role in an operation that had ongoing for some time.
After sentencing, Matt McMillan from the Metropolitan Police which led the investigation jointly with National Crime Agency, said: "Bassi was a major distributor of class A drugs in the West Midlands.
"By shutting down his illegal enterprise, not only have we have eliminated a key link in the chain between high end traffickers and street level dealers, but a huge amount of cash has been removed from the criminal economy”.