Drug dealer made £320,000 from selling heroin

Joanne Wilson

Joanne Wilson

A female drug dealer who was wearing an £11,000 Rolex watch and driving a Mercedes when she was arrested has been ordered to pay £14,061 as the proceeds of crime.

Joanne Wilson, 30, of Everest Grove, West Boldon, made £323,685 from selling heroin, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Wilson, who was described as the ‘administrative assistant’ of a six-member gang, was jailed for two-and-half years earlier this year.

Her boyfriend at the time and gang leader Andy Bennett was ruled to have made £426,322 and ordered to pay £13,683.

The 25-year-old, of Benson Street, Stockton, is serving eight years.

Also dealt with by Judge Sean Morris was Craig Thompson, 31, of Hexham Avenue, Hebburn.

Some of the drugs recovered

Some of the drugs recovered

Thompson, who is serving five years, was made the subject of a nominal £1 confiscation order after his benefit from crime was assessed at £1,000.

They were part of a six-strong gang who were jailed for a total of 30 years at Teesside Crown Court after police smashed a heroin dealing ring.

During the hearing Sam Dowson, 24, of Ingleton Road, Stockton, was told to pay £3,072. Dowson, who is serving six years, was ruled to have benefited by £302,685.

Haytham Baker, 23, of Saltney, Cheshire, was said to have made £600 - cash he had with him when he was arrested - which was confiscated. Baker was sentenced to three-and-a-half years.

The court heard the gang brought the drugs in bulk from Merseyside to South Tyneside for processing, then for distribution on Teesside.

An address in South Tyneside linked to Wilson was used for the preparation and cutting of the drugs into street-sized deals.

Police found hydraulic presses, scales, and other dealing paraphernalia in the house.

More than 2kg of heroin was seized from Thompson’s house in Hebburn.

He later told police his biggest consignment was ‘about 15kg’.

The final gang member was 30-year-old Daniel Crone of Brook Gardens, Consett, who was jailed for five years.

No seizure order was made against him after the court heard he had only acted as a courier on a handful of occasions.

Judge Morris made the agreed orders after behind the scenes negotiations between prosecution and defence lawyers.

The court heard the drugs were brought to South Tyneside from Merseyside for onward distribution to Teesside.

During the original court case Judge Peter Armstrong described it as a “serious conspiracy”.