A drugs baron accused of making £500,000 from dealing only has assets worth £9,000, a court heard.
Brian Ferguson was jailed for 16 years in November, 2015, after being linked to a £1.5million stash of heroin, cocaine, and cannabis, found by police in a warehouse in Gateshead.
Prosecutors claim the 54-year-old made £500,000 from dealing, although they have only been able to find assets of £9,000. Ferguson served a previous 10-year sentence for drug dealing.
He survived an assassination attempt in 2009 when he was shot in the stomach, most likely by a drugs supplier to whom he owed money.
Judge Deborah Sherwin said she was satisfied Ferguson, of Bowood Close, Sunderland, was ‘close to the top’ of his most recent drugs conspiracy.
He was due before court for a hearing to decide if he has any assets which can be seized as the proceeds of crime - but the court heard he has suffered a heart attack and has been transferred to hospital for treatment after suffering a seizure a fortnight ago.
Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told Teesside Crown Court: “Mr Ferguson has not been produced from prison having suffered a heart attack in the last two weeks. It is our understanding he is in a hospital.”
Mr Perks said the prosecution claims Ferguson made £500,000 from drugs dealing.
“A financial investigation has found he has assets amounting to £9,000,” added Mr Perks. “This includes £3,600 cash held by the Phoenix Group, which was a previously hidden investment.”
Vince Ward, for Ferguson, said the application to confiscate the assets is opposed.
“My instructions from Mr Ferguson are simple,” Mr Ward added. “This matter is contested, and there will need to be a full hearing.”
The court was told agreement had been reached in the Proceeds of Crime Act cases of two others jailed at the same time as Ferguson.
Ferguson’s case has now been listed at Newcastle Crown Court on October 9.