Orpington man admits drug charge after police discover cannabis factory following death of woman (From News Shopper)
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Orpington man admits drug charge after police discover cannabis factory following death of woman
An Orpington man has pleaded guilty to a drugs offence after police found a cannabis factory in Sevenoaks during an investigation following the death of a woman.
Gareth Morgan, aged 34, of Broadwater Gardens, Orpington, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court and admitted one count of producing cannabis.
He was arrested along with his cousin, Stevie Murphy, 34, from Sevenoaks, and another man, David Williams, 44, from Sundridge.
Ambulance crews and police were called to Murphy’s home on November 17, 2012 following reports his partner had become seriously ill after using cocaine.
Stacey McGuire, 37, died in hospital of multiple organ failure as a result of cocaine intoxication.
Murphy was arrested after a search of his home uncovered 45 cannabis plants in a garage and substantial quantities of cash.
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.
Morgan 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, but 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 Williams and a search of his Sundridge home led to the discovery of cocaine with an estimated value of between £4,000 and £8,300 and two cannabis plants.
Drugs paraphernalia including mixing bowls, scales and items for cannabis production were also seized as well as £1,600 in cash.
Murphy pleaded guilty to producing cannabis, possessing criminal property and obtaining and disguising criminal property.
Williams pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply, two counts of producing cannabis and possessing criminal property.
Detective Constable Alastair Morgan said the guilty pleas were an indication of the overwhelming evidence against the three men.
Det Con 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."
The three men will be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on April 7.
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