Man faces jail for his role in drug operation

PUBLISHED: 06:32 01 September 2016

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court


A mechanic is facing a long jail term after being found guilty of taking part in a large-scale drug supply operation.

Gary Embley stored 25 kilograms of a mixing agent and a packing machine for his stepson Leon Butt, of Topsham, who has already been jailed for his part in the amphetamine racket.

Embley tried to tip off Butt by sending texts on two different phones when police raided his home and lock-up garage in Exeter, but he was too late because drug squad officers had made simultaneous raids in Hill Barton Lane, Galahad Close, and Pellinore Road, all in Exeter, High Street, Topsham, and a unit at Woodbury Salterton.

Butt ran the operation from his home in Topsham and used a small removals business as cover for large-scale drug dealing.

He was involved in selling both amphetamines and cocaine, but only involved his stepfather in one of the drugs.

Embley claimed he had no idea Butt was involved in drugs and did not realise what the items in his garage were going to be used for.

He was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court after he admitted during cross-examination that he knew Butt had a previous conviction for dealing.

Embley, 60, of Omaha Drive, Exeter, denied conspiracy to supply amphetamines between April 2014 and March 2015 but was found guilty.

Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report and granted Embley bail on a tagged curfew with a condition to surrender his passport.

He told him: “There must be a custodial sentence. You know what happened to the other people in this case. My decision to grant you bail should not be taken as indication of leniency.

“The others all received custodial sentences, going up to the nine and a half years which Leon Butt received after a reduction for pleading guilty. These are serious offences.”

The court heard Embley’s role was to store a 25 kilogram sack of lactose which was to be used to cut amphetamines so as to increase the profit.

His garage also contained a vacuum packing machine and a broken hydraulic press, which could have been used to compact drugs if it had been repaired.

Embley claimed he got the press from a skip at a garage where he used to work and got the vacuum machine and the lactose from a firm in Warrington without knowing what they were.

Miss Emily Cook, defending, said Embley had spent 493 days on a tagged curfew, which would count against his sentence and urged the judge to consider suspending the sentence so Embley could care for his frail 89-year-old father.

Butt, 42, of High Street, Topsham, was jailed for nine and a half years by the same judge at Exeter Crown Court in February after he admitted conspiracy to supply amphetamines and cocaine.

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