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Witham drug dealer found with £720,000 of cocaine jailed for nine years

PUBLISHED: 16:34 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 26 April 2019

Witham man Jake Layzell has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being found with an estimated £720,000 of cocaine in a van on the A130 in Essex. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Witham man Jake Layzell has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being found with an estimated £720,000 of cocaine in a van on the A130 in Essex. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

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A drug dealer from Witham stopped on the A130 with more than £700,000 of class A drugs has been jailed for nine years.

Jake Layzell, 25 of Newland Street in Witham, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine and possession of cannabis at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, April 26.

He had been stopped by officers a month previously on Monday, March 4 when travelling on the A130 in his van near South Woodham Ferrers.

Police officers, aided by a specialist detection dog trained to detect cash, firearms and drugs discovered £2,000 cash in Mr Layzell's jacket pocket while indicating the presence of drugs in a professionally fitted metal store inside the van.

The van was taken to Harwich International Port to be scanned using UK Border Force's specialist X-ray scanner, where images revealed an area concealed behind the metal store, held in place by two large electromagnets.

Upon further inspection, police found six kilograms of cocaine, 35 grams of cannabis bud, as well as seven counterfeit £20 notes.

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As well as the illegal goods, police found a further five mobile phones, two of which were heavily encrypted, as well as a document confirming him as the van's registered owner.

Following the search, Layzell and a 24-year-old male passenger were arrested and subsequently charged.

Police have confirmed the passenger remains under investigation.

Sentencing Layzell, the judge said he had used very sophisticated means to hide what he described as “importation-level” purity cocaine, adding he was “clearly” linked to organised crime.

In addition to the nine years imprisonment, a further month was added for the possession of cannabis, which will run concurrently alongside the sentence for cocaine.

Detective Inspector Colin Norton, of Essex Police's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “Our officers are constantly working to target organised crime groups and those individuals involved.

“Layzell was clearly experienced when it came to concealing his criminal activity, but through the hard work and skill of both our officers and police dogs, we were able to uncover his criminality and prevent a substantial amount of cocaine from being sold on.”

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