Man jailed for one million euro cocaine deal bid

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The Independent Online

A middle-aged drug trafficker was jailed for 18 years today for masterminding an attempted one million euro (£873,700) cocaine deal.







Timothy Dale admitted trying to buy 37kg of the class A drug from a British gang based in Amsterdam.



It would have been worth more than £4.5 million once cut to street level purity, Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said.



Dale, 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a controlled drug after Dutch authorities passed evidence to the UK.



The case was a rare example of a prosecution based on such evidence, according to Soca.



Dale, who confessed to dealing drugs for more than 20 years, was caught after Dutch investigators busted the gang of middle-aged men he was trying to arrange the deal with in September 2007.



He was unaware that they were already being targeted by the Dutch National Crime Squad (NCS).



Phone calls between Dale and one of the men, Richard Wright, in the Netherlands, were intercepted by the NCS and when Wright arranged for a courier to transport the drugs concealed in the door panels of a Vauxhall Astra, police stopped the car as it approached the Belgian border.



They found 37 parcels inside, containing 36.7kg of cocaine hidden in the purpose built concealment.



All four members of the gang, along with the courier were arrested by the Dutch authorities and have since been jailed for a total of 26 years.



Dale, from Hayes Chase, West Wickham in south-east London, could not be prosecuted for his role in the conspiracy under Dutch law so Soca brought a case against him in the UK.



He pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court in south London today, a court official said.



Andy Sellers, Soca deputy director, welcomed the result.



He said: "International borders can sometimes be more of a barrier to law enforcement than they are to criminals.



"I'm delighted that, working with our Dutch colleagues, we were able to gain a conviction against someone who has clearly been a significant drug trafficker for some time, and now has a sentence to reflect that."



Moira MacDaid, senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service's organised crime division, added: "This case shows that where evidence is gathered by the police abroad it can still be used in courts in England and Wales, even when it includes foreign intercept evidence.



"Faced with this compelling evidence of his criminal behaviour, Timothy Dale had no credible defence to the prosecution case and no option but to plead guilty.



"This is an excellent example of our building relationships with law enforcement around the world so we can work together to tackle international organised crime."



In the Netherlands, Alan Byrne, 59, from Glasgow, was jailed for eight years for supplying cocaine, possession of a firearm and possession of a false travel document.



Vincenzo Clemente, 42, from London, was handed a four-year prison sentence for exporting 36.7kg of cocaine from Dutch territory and possessing a false travel document.



Mark Scerri, 55, from Hertfordshire, was jailed for three years for supplying cocaine.



Richard John Wright received a prison sentence of six years and three months for exporting 36.7 kg of cocaine from Dutch territory and possessing false UK passports.



Jamal Ait-Ali was jailed for five years for supplying cocaine, possessing 7kg of heroin and 243g of hashish and possessing a handgun and ammunition.