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Three people have been sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison after their cocaine business was busted by police officers.
Niall Chinnock, 49, Zoe Hutson, 35, and Kirt Hutson, 37, all previously of Wellingborough, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to supply cocaine at a court hearing in November last year.
The ringleader – Chinnock, was using the EncroChat platform to purchase wholesale amounts of drugs which he was then supplying onward to other suppliers in Northamptonshire.
EncroChat was a Europe-based communications network and service provider used primarily by organized crime members to plan criminal activities.
During a period of ten weeks between March 31, and May 27, 2020, Chinnock purchased 6kg of cocaine using the platform to arrange the deals.
But he needed a place to store his stash and he found the perfect pair in the Hutsons at Elizabeth Close. The investigation subsequently established that he had been using the Hutsons to store cocaine from at least January 2020 and that they had allowed him a key, and to come and go as he pleased.
The trio were finally caught on May 27, 2020, when at 11.30am, Chinnock was stopped in a white Peugeot Partner Van off the A45 near Stanwick.
Inside the vehicle were four bags of high-purity cocaine, believed to be samples for his onward suppliers.
Police also seized two mobile phones, one of which was an encrypted device with the ability to use EncroChat.
The Hutsons address was then searched and two rucksacks and a cash counting machine were located on top of a wardrobe in the spare room.
Each rucksack contained a safe, one with a kilo block of cocaine worth £80,000 found inside. Also in the rucksacks were three further bags of cocaine worth £6000, £34,000 in cash, disposable gloves and elastic bands.
Found elsewhere in the house were scales, re-sealable ‘dealer’ bags and smaller amounts of cocaine.
All three were subsequently charged and at Northampton Crown Court this week (February 28), Chinnock was handed ten years in prison with the two Hutsons sentenced to four years apiece.
Lead Investigator - Hazel Score from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “Niall Chinnock used sophisticated means to run his drugs business.
“In a 10-week period he spent over £240,000 on bringing drugs into Northamptonshire to be supplied in the county for profit.
“The Hutsons were important to his operation, allowing him to store his drugs and cash float away from his own address to help him facilitate the sale of this cocaine.
“I hope all three of them use their time inside to reflect on the poor choices they have each made, in order to make better ones when they are eventually released.
“Tackling the supply of drugs will always be a priority for the police and I am pleased that this operation was able to disrupt a persistent and high-volume drug supply network.”
Mugshots from left to right - Niall Chinnock, Zoe Hutson, Kirt Hutson.