A Rugby man who began using cocaine after the breakdown of his marriage set up a commercial operation selling the drug on after ‘cutting’ and dividing it into deals.
But Mervyn McConville was trapped following a police operation into the supply of drugs in prison – because two of his customers happened to be prison officers.
McConville, aged 40, of Ferndown Road, Rugby, was jailed for two years and seven months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
Prosecutor Ian Speed said that in March the police went to the address in Mica Close, Rugby, where McConville was living at the time, with a search warrant.
As they arrived at 3.45am they saw McConville coming out and going to his car, apparently leaving to go to his job as an HGV driver.
In the boot of his car they found a quantity of small re-sealable bags, commonly referred to as ‘dealer bags,’ so he was arrested.
The officers then searched his home, and in the lounge they found more dealer bags, a spoon with traces of a white substance on it, scales and three ounces of benzocaine, which is commonly used to ‘cut’ the purity of cocaine for street deals.
“What they found was typical of a commercial enterprise for the supply of drugs,” observed Mr Speed, who said McConville had ‘an operational role,’ selling directly to users.
McConville, who had a previous conviction for possessing a class A drug, accepted that he would buy cocaine in bulk and mix it with the benzocaine before supplying it.
But in his written ‘basis of plea’ it was said he was not involved in the supply of drugs into HM Prison Service at any time, and that not all the money he had in his bank account had come from the sale of cocaine.
Gareth James, defending, said McConville is recently divorced, having separated from his wife in late 2012, at which time he ‘started to misuse cocaine.’
“Having started to purchase and use it himself, people he associated with asked if he had any for them. He started to share it, and that developed into him supplying on a larger basis.
“It does seem it was a small-scale enterprise which started with him supplying friends. It has continued with him supplying friends, and some names crop up again and again.”
Of McConville’s basis of plea, Mr James explained: “He was arrested as part of a larger operation which was targeting prison officers and the supply of drugs in prison.
“It turns out two of the persons he supplied were prison officers, but for their own use.
“He was not the subject or the target of the police operation, but got flagged up during it.”
Jailing McConville, Judge Alan Parker told him: “I am confident you were entirely aware of the risks you were running when you engaged in the supply of cocaine to other people.
“You were supplying a class A drug to others over a number of months from the end of December 2012 to March 2015 in circumstances where there was a financial advantage to you in doing so.
“Although it is said you were supplying to friends, you were selling to users, and therefore it qualifies as street dealing.
“This is a case where the starting point after a trial would be something like four-and-a-half years. It’s that serious, and I’m quite confident you knew that when you set out on this.
“I bear in mind the effect on your family, but you have brought all of this on yourself, and upon them too.”