A MAN who sent money abroad for a criminal family on Deeside involved in drug smuggling felt he had been used as a ‘mule’.
Stephen David Williams, 53, had done the favour in return for heroin but he had not appreciated the extent to which the Calvert family had been involved in criminality, Mold Crown Court was told.
Williams, of Sullivans Rise, connah’s Quay – now suffering serious ill health after being a heroin addict for most of his life – also had a drink problem and doctors had told him he would not survive if he turned to alcohol again, the court heard.
He admitted four charges of money laundering and was jailed for six months.
Prosecuting barrister Simon Medland QC said Operation Boating involved a covert inquiry into a conspiracy to import heroin from Thailand via Amsterdam into the UK by members of the Calvert family, who had previously been dealt with.
Williams had assisted by transferring sums of money out of the UK.
Richard Pepe Calvert had been building a house for himself in Thailand. Williams had known him “for years” and regularly attended the family home in Bryn Road, Connah’s Quay.
He was heroin addict who would make money transfers at local Post Offices or travel agents. One cash transfer was to Richard Pepe Calvert in Thailand.
Interviewed, Williams said he did not know it was drugs money and he felt “used” by the Calvert family.
“He said he had been used as a mule,” Mr Medland explained.
Police found a total of 13 money transfers to the tune of £24,000 but the allegation against Williams was restricted to four of those transfers totalling £11,000.
He now admitted he had done it in return for heroin.
John Hedgecoe, defending, said Williams had been a heroin addict since he was about 15. He had problems with alcohol, had spent many weeks this year in hospital and it was clear he would not have much time left if he touched alcohol again.
“He has been quite clearly manipulated by others,” said Mr Hedgecoe.
Judge Niclas Parry said that for more than 12 months Williams made it possible for drugs money to be used by serious criminals and his role had made their detection more difficult.
He had played a part in offending which could have had a considerable impact on communities in North Wales.
A further defendant, Brian Morrelle, 66 – formerly of Ger y Pistyll, Nercwys but now of Holly Drive, Mold – denies that in December 2010 he laundered money for Simon Calvert. He is yet to stand trial.
Five jailed over drugs conspiracy
In May, Richard Pepe Calvert, 32, was jailed for seven years for organising what a judge described as a conspiracy to “import drugs from South East Asia to poison the streets of North Wales”.
But the plan to import heroin to the UK was foiled thanks to police, who carried out covert observations and placed secret listening devices in the Calvert family home in Bryn Road, Connah’s Quay.
His brother Simon Calvert, 37, received five years.
Both admitted conspiracy to import heroin between December 2010 and June last year, and a second conspiracy to launder money.
Their sister, Maria Calvert, 35, a mother of four, of Church Street, Connah’s Quay, received three years for money laundering and being involved in the supply of heroin.
The mother, Margaret Rose Calvert, 63, was jailed for 21 months for money laundering – but that sentence meant her immediate release because of the time she had served on remand.
A Cardiff man, Darren Hanashi, who arranged the couriers and who drove them from South Wales to Liverpool airport, was jailed for five years and seven months after he admitted the drugs importation conspiracy.