Two men have been jailed for a total of ten years after drugs with a street value of more than half a million pounds were seized during police raids in Maidstone and West Malling.

More than 16 kilograms of cocaine and amphetamine were discovered by officers during search warrants last year, which led to the arrests of Matthew Beal and Robert Edwards.

Processing unit

An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate revealed the pair had been orchestrating a supply chain which involved Beal transporting large quantities of drugs to a lock-up in Wierton Place, Boughton Monchelsea.

In an upstairs room, Edwards would adulterate the substances to maximise profit and use specialist equipment to press it into compact kilogram blocks. Beal would later return and collect the finished product.

On 6 November 2020, police executed a search warrant at the property.

Edwards, aged 51, was found inside wearing gloves covered with powder residue and arrested.

The upstairs room was found to have been converted solely for the purpose of processing drugs, with scales, mixing agents, an electric blender and a vacuum packing machine among various items seized.

More than three kilograms of cocaine were recovered, as well as a hydraulic press used to emboss compressed blocks with a number ‘1’.

Hide built into car

On 1 December 2020, a second search warrant was carried out at the home address of Beal, in Swan Street, West Malling.

The 43-year-old was inside and arrested.

Searches led to the discovery of further large quantities of cocaine and cutting agents, as well as cash, a money counting machine and two encrypted phones.

Beal’s BMW was then searched. It had a professionally fitted hide accessed from within the boot.

Within the hide officers found large quantities of amphetamine.

In total 3.75 kilograms of cocaine and 12.55 kilograms of amphetamine were recovered from both addresses and Beal’s car, as well as 10.5 kilograms of cutting agent.

Rolex watches and more than £3,500 in cash were also confiscated, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

At Maidstone Crown Court, Beal pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing cocaine with intent to supply and a further count of possessing amphetamine with intent to supply.

Edwards, of Lyngs Close, Yalding admitted two counts of possessing cocaine with intent to supply and with being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

On 9 February 2021, both men were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

Substantial scale

Detective Sergeant Jason Booth, senior investigating officer said: ‘Matthew Beal and Robert Edwards were involved in the large-scale supply of cocaine and amphetamine.‘Over many months, they operated a system which saw Beal transporting high purity drugs to the lock-up near Maidstone, before Edwards would then undertake the process of adulteration, preparation and pressing into blocks. Usually, after two to three hours, Beal would then return to collect the finished product.‘The evidence we have provided has proved beyond any doubt the roles of both these man in supplying drugs on a substantial scale. Beal’s car had been specially adapted to conceal and courier drugs and we also seized two encrypted communications devices, which provided further evidence of the scale and sophistication of this supply chain.’

By Ed

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