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Home Maidstone News Article
Three men have been convicted in connection with the production and sale of "substantial" quantities of drugs from a cannabis factory in Sevenoaks.
Stevie Murphy, 34, of Old London Road, Badgers Mount; Gareth Morgan, 34, of Broadwater Gardens, Orpington and David Williams, 44, of Chevening Road, Sundridge will be sentenced in April.
Their conviction comes after a police investigation which began following the death of Murphy's partner, who suffered multiple organ failure after taking cocaine.
The 37-year-old later died in hospital, but Murphy, who recovered, was arrested after a search of his home uncovered 45 cannabis plants in a garage along with substantial quantities of cash.
Checks of Murphy’s bank and credit card accounts showed receipts of more than £126,000 during 2012, which he was unable to attribute to a legitimate source of income.
Gareth Morgan, a cousin of Murphy, was also arrested and claimed sole responsibility for growing the drugs in the garage.
He claimed Murphy was unaware of the cannabis factory and had simply given him permission to store clothes and other items there.
During interview Murphy insisted he had no knowledge of the illicit activity in his garage.
However, his fingerprints were detected on a book in his house entitled The Cannabis Grow Bible – The Definitive Guide to Growing Marijuana.
Forensic tests on a cash filled envelope found in Murphy’s house then identified a further suspect, David Williams.
A search of Williams’ Sundridge home led to the discovery of cocaine with an estimated value of between £4,000 and £8,300 and two cannabis plants.
Murphy appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday February, 24 and pleaded guilty to producing the cannabis found in his garage. He also pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property, after £5,800 in cash was discovered in his home and admitted a further count of obtaining and disguising criminal property.
Morgan and Williams pleaded guilty to various charges at earlier hearings.
Morgan admitted one count of producing cannabis. Williams pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and admitted a further two counts of producing cannabis, in his own home, and of possessing criminal property.
Detective Constable Alastair Morgan said the guilty pleas were an indication of the overwhelming evidence against the three men.
DC Morgan said: "The three defendants were involved in the production and sale of substantial quantities of drugs, which are likely to have been distributed throughout Kent.
‘"We have proved Murphy’s lifestyle was far in excess of a legitimate income and expenditure. He had spent £30,000 on holiday bookings and spending money alone.
"Whilst none of these men have been directly implicated in the death of Stacey McGuire this investigation is a tragic reminder of the potentially lethal consequences of using cocaine.
"Many users may think it is safe to use on a recreational basis but there is simply no way of knowing how the body will react every time it is taken. This is why it remains a Class A controlled drug."
Sentencing will take place at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday, April 7.
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