Jail terms have been imposed on three men following a police raid on a Cliftonville property where a sawn-off shotgun, ammunition, cocaine and heroin were seized.
The address in Surrey Road was being used as a cocaine pressing factory and a base to sell drugs when officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate carried out the warrant last year.
Ashley Cairns and Jordan Bourton were jailed for their involvement at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday 29 October 2021. A third man was previously jailed at an earlier hearing.
Officers carried out the operation at the two-bedroom ground floor flat on the evening of Thursday 30 April 2020 following concerns about possible drug dealing from the property.
Scattered around the flat, they found heroin, cocaine and cannabis, as well as more than £22,000 in cash and large amounts of cutting agents, chemicals which drug dealers use to bulk out substances for sale.
A handgun, which was later found to be an air pistol, was seized from one of the rooms and, in a bag which had been thrown over a garden wall, a sawn-off shotgun was recovered along with 11 cartridges.
Experts estimated the total street value of the class A drugs seized was around £20,000, with around £1,000-worth of cannabis.
A hydraulic press and a mould found in the property are believed to have been used for pressing cocaine into blocks.
A total of 12 mobile phones, believed to have been used to sell the drugs, were also seized.
Those involved were arrested at the scene and later charged with multiple offences. At the sentencing hearing last week:
• Ashley Cairns, 34, received an eight-year, 10-month sentence after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm, being concerned in the supply of heroin, cocaine and cannabis and possession of criminal property.
• Jordan Bourton, 21, was jailed for six years and eight months after admitting the same charges.
Detective Sergeant Jason Booth, senior investigating officer for the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘The evidence gathered shows this property was clearly being used for the preparation and sale of illegal drugs at street level, and the laundering of the proceeds from these crimes.
‘Perhaps most worryingly, the sawn-off shotgun recovered shows the dangerous lengths drug dealers will go to protect themselves, their commodities and profits.
‘I am pleased this weapon has been removed from circulation and it cannot be used to threaten or harm others. I am also pleased that these men have been taken off the streets and can no longer prey on the vulnerable for criminal gain.’