Posted on Thursday 25 May 2023
Three drug smugglers have been taken off the streets after being caught with 1kg of cocaine.
Todd Franey and Keith Johnstone were intercepted on the A1(M) in November 2020 where officers discovered the Class A drug in the boot of their Skoda Octavia.
Evidence pulled from their mobile phones revealed the pair had been instructed to collect the drugs from Leeds by Christopher Taylor.
They initially went to the wrong address to collect the drugs with Taylor, 49, being annoyed and having to give them directions.
And despite all three giving ‘no comment’ interviews, they were charged with Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs.
Franey and Johnstone pleaded guilty whilst Taylor was found guilty following a trial at Durham Crown Court.
Last Friday (May 19), 33-year-old Franey, of Hesleden, was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison while 41-year-old Johnstone, of Bishop Auckland, was handed a sentence of six years and three months.
Taylor, of Low Greenfields, St Helen Auckland, was remanded and will be sentenced at a later date.
T/Detective Inspector, Amanda Howe, said: “Drugs have a devastating impact on local communities and Durham Constabulary will not tolerate criminality of this nature.
“We will actively target criminals who engage in this activity and take them off the streets so we hope these prison sentences are a warning to anyone tempted get involved.
“We are fully committed to pursuing criminals and bringing them to justice and this type of activity will continue under the banner of Operation Sentinel- a partnership initiative targeting serious and organised crime across the region.”