‘Courier’ to be sentenced for role in £55million drugs ring

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A MAN involved in a £55million drug ring because of a “succession of financial difficulties” will be sentenced today.

Andrew Yates, 29, moved “eye-watering” amounts of money for a gang who sent furniture to Holland, to have it stuffed with drugs and returned to the UK.

The drugs were destined for the North East and Scotland criminal market.

Yates, from Fountains Close, Washington, was stopped by police on Thursday, November 15, 2012, travelling in his Vauxhall Insignia with £65,000 in cash.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy with regards to money laundering. Newcastle Crown Court heard how Yates, who has no previous convictions, was enlisted into the work by his father.

Ricky Holland, defending, called his role in the ring that of a “courier”, but stressed that he had no involvement beyond that.

Mr Holland said: “He was usually given a holdall and sent on his way, he was not aware of the eye-watering amounts of money involved. There is no evidence that he was aware of the true scale of the operation.”

Yates, who is father to an 18-month-old child, will be sentenced along with nine other defendants.