A DRUG dealer who tried to dispose of evidence by throwing it into the Mersey will serve more than six years in prison for his role in a ‘commercial, well-established drugs supply operation’.

Darren Jones, of Clifton Street in Latchford, was handed an 81-month sentence at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday after being caught in the supply of cocaine three times in 18 months.

The 29-year-old was first arrested after being stopped by police on July 1, 2019.

Prosecutor Lee Bonner said at 2.15pm, police were on patrol in Warrington when they stopped a blue Volkswagen Golf.

The driver – Jones – gave them a false name and the court heard how he ‘sweating and looked nervous’.

In his pocket there were two phones, along with snap bags of white powder.

Police recovered a large bag containing smaller bags of cocaine, cash and a ‘hand-written drug dealing list’.

He was arrested and released under investigation.

Mr Bonner said the following year, on August 12, 2020, a search warrant was issued for Archer Avenue in Warrington, where police recovered drugs and cash.

Jones’ DNA was found on bags of cocaine.

On December 16, 2021, Chester Crown Court heard how officers in Warrington received information that a white van was drug dealing in the area, and it was spotted near Mersey Walk in Latchford.

Mr Bonner described how Jones ran from the vehicle and threw a rucksack into the Mersey.

An officer swam out to recover it and inside there was cash, cannabis and cocaine, totalling between £1,690 and £3,990.

Warrington Guardian: Darren JonesDarren Jones

Following the incident, police searched a property in Northwich - which was linked to Jones - and found another ‘drug dealing’ list with more than 100 names and numbers.

A co-defendant was also arrested, and his property searched.

Between the two, £4,332 was seized as part of what experts called a ‘commercial, well-established supply operation’.

Michael Scholes, defending, said Jones started taking drugs in his mid-twenties, but up until that point had a good job and stable life.

The court heard how Jones then got into drug debt and subsequently become involved in the supply of drugs.

Mr Scholes stressed that there were other people ‘up the chain’ who had a higher role than Jones.

Judge Steven Everett sentenced Jones to 81 months for supplying ‘the evil substance.’.

He said: “In the first case, you were in a car in the Warrington area.

“You had with you a relatively substantial amount of cocaine and two mobile phones with clear dealer messages and cash, as well as clear dealer lists.

“You had been released under investigation by the police and it’s true to say they took longer than they should have done with the first matter.

“But you should have stayed out of trouble - you chose not to.

“You were arrested again, and inexplicably the police decided to release you again.

“In the third case, there was a significant amount of cocaine – 58 snap bags of cocaine.

“When the police tried to arrest you, you tried to get rid of the evidence and threw the bag you were carrying into the river.

“People need to understand that these drugs blight people’s lives.

“They are probably responsible for more than half the crime committed in this country, excluding motoring offences.”