Car dealer denied handing over drugs to motorbiker later stopped by police with 84% pure cocaine
A car dealer was challenged in court that he was the kingpin of a cocaine drugs ring in the North East over an eight months period.
Gary Mitchell, 42, who denied it, ended his third day in the witness box at Teesside Crown Court in the trial of eight men from Hartlepool, East Durham and South Shields on a charge of conspiracy to supply the Class A drug.
Prosecutor Matthew Bean accused him of organising and arranging the ongoing conspiracy to supply cocaine throughout the North East involving the drugs and cash from August 2016 to April 2017.
Mitchell denied it saying: “No cocaine and no cash”.
Mr Bean reeled off the names of five men who he claimed that Mitchell had supplied with cocaine during that period, and Mitchell answered: “No, Mr Bean”.
Mr Bean put it to him that police surveillance teams saw him at Sherburn Hill with a motorcyclist who was later followed and stopped in possession of a package of 184 grammes of 84% pure cocaine.
Mitchell said that he admitted that at that time in 2016 and 2017 he had a Mercedes ML car but he could not remember if he was sitting in it or not at the alleged location.
He told the jury: “We are going back four and a half years ago and I can’t remember if I was sitting in it or not.”
Mitchell said that the police claimed that he had his schoolboy son with him in the car, adding: “It was suggested that I did give cocaine to this man even though I had my son with me.
“I would never, ever do a thing like that.”
Mr Bean repeated the Crown’s allegation that Mitchell was using two mobile phones at the time, and that experts had tracked them being in contact with other defendants accused of the drugs conspiracy.
Mitchell insisted when questioned by his counsel Paul Rooney: "I was using one mobile phone.”
Mr Bean said earlier in opening the case that police seized thousands of pounds in cash from Mitchell’s home.
Mitchell’s second counsel Philip Morley told the jury that there were facts agreed with the Prosecution that there were no traces of drugs on the cash seized during the police search of his home, and that no drugs or drugs paraphernalia was ever found there.
Hajinder Singh, Mitchell’s local shopkeeper and postmaster, said that neither he or his partner had ever topped-up phones in his store.
The defendants are: Alan Baines, 33, of Meryl Gardens, Hartlepool, and Graham Wilding, 33, of Warren Road, Hartlepool, deny conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class A between 2015 and 2016 alongside Gary Mitchell, 42, of Pinedale Drive, South Hetton; Stephen Horner, 24, of Frederick Terrace, South Hetton; Christopher Hickson, 35, of Gloucester Terrace, Haswell; Darren Gates, 49, of Chaucer Avenue, Biddick Hall, South Shields; Dean Pringle, 34, of Little Eden, Peterlee, and an eighth man, who cannot be named for legal reasons.