Drug dealer sentence is cut

Warrington Guardian: Drug dealer sentence is cut Drug dealer sentence is cut

A DEALER who ran a large scale operation that saw £50,000 worth of cocaine seized by police had his prison sentence cut by top judges.

Lee Stoba, aged 40, of Riverside Close, Latchford, had a 14 year jail term reduced by one year at the Court of Appeal in London on Friday.

Mr Justice Royce, sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Judge James Goss QC, said Stoba had not been given enough credit when making early guilty pleas.

Stoba's legal team had claimed the 14 year sentence was 'too harsh’.

They also disputed the ‘leading role’ attributed to him by the Crown Court judge.

Stoba was jailed at Mold Crown Court in March after admitting two counts of conspiracy to supply cocaine, and one of handling stolen goods.

The court heard he was at the pinnacle of an organised drug network running cocaine from Liverpool and Warrington to Wrexham in Wales.

He used a unit at Wrexham's Nelson Business Park as cover for his operations, said Mr Justice Royce, and stored large amounts of cocaine at the home of an accomplice who was in poor health.

When the accomplice's home was searched by detectives, they discovered cocaine worth £50,000, plus agents used to cut it before it was sold on the streets.

He was arrested and police seized £4,500 in cash and two high value watches.

Mr Justice Royce said it was clear Stoba had made a ‘substantial gain’ from his dealings and had been found using nine different mobile phones by police.

“It was clear you had been running this operation and were controlling what others did,” the judge added.

The court heard Stoba was also involved in a plot to buy and sell a stolen haul of platinum worth £250,000.

It was stolen from Morgan Ceramics in Wrexham.

The defendant became involved when he received a sample of the precious metal.

His job was to test its purity, the court heard, and use it to buy drugs.

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