Telford drugs ring man pays back £124,000
A Telford man who was part of a conspiracy to deal cocaine in the town has been ordered to pay more than £120,000 from his ill-gotten gains.
Altin Ceco, 41, was jailed for seven years and eight months in December 2017. He was supposed to pay £250,00 but the sum was revised after the sale of properties he owned sold went for less than their valuation.
He was a member of a drugs ring that was operating in the town and he pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to supply cocaine between September 1, 2016 and March 21, 2017.
Ceco, of Wagoners Fold, Malinslee, was initially expected to pay £250,000 after the Crown Prosecution Service calculated that was how much he earned from the enterprise.
However, a hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court was told that he had so far paid £124,529.33p made up of from the sale of two houses and £40,333 in cash seized when he was arrested.
Robert Edwards, prosecuting, said that the sale of the properties had realised less than their initial valuations and that Ceco had now accrued interest on the outstanding sums agreed.
“The confiscation order was set predominantly from the sale of two properties at West Parade and Lewis Street. They sold at a significant deficit from the original valuation," he said.
“There is insufficient money to realise the amounts. The Crown is in a position to agree to the confiscation order drafted by the defence.”
Judge Anthony Lowe told Ceco, who appeared by prison video link, that he was agree to the request.
But he said: "That doesn't prevent the finance unit asking for payment of the rest of the benefit if it can be shown that you have the means to pay."
The four-strong gang was arrested in February and March 2017 following a covert operation codenamed Operation Warrior.
West Mercia Police caught the criminals after capturing evidence of their drug dealing. During the investigation police seized half a kilo of high grade cocaine worth £30,000 as well as £90,000 in cash.
When they were sentenced, investigating officer, Detective Inspector Gavin Kinrade, from West Mercia Police, said the drug activity caused misery in the community.