A crook who led a north Cumbria cocaine supply plot from custody has been jailed along with his business partner, and also a mother and son who were involved in a daring bid to throw £32,000 worth of prohibited items into a prison.
While behind bars at HMP Northumberland, 35-year-old Carlisle man Stephen Dixon used an illegally held phone and had a concealed cell cavity as he headed a hierarchy for the organised distribution of the class A drug in huge volumes and a high purity level.
Sitting just below Dixon, of Blackwell Road, in the chain of command was his “man on the outside” Dylan Schwencke, 25, the city’s crown court heard today.
Schwencke, of Warnell Drive, Carlisle, peddled large amounts of cocaine in his own right during a conspiracy that spanned seven weeks around the turn of 2020.
He enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and recruited others to act as criminal couriers and warehouse the illicit stock. They included two Carlisle brothers, Ellis and Warren Graham, who were previously handed lengthy jail terms after they were drawn in to work off drug debts.
But detectives smashed the supply plot and brought the perpetrators justice after amassing a wealth of damning mobile phone evidence, raiding addresses and making significant seizures. These included cocaine potentially worth several hundred thousand pounds, specialist metal press parts, phones, cash bundles, weapons and luxury items including Rolex watches and a Harrods reward card.
There was also a daring bid to throw over two potentially lucrative packages into the North East prison on December 23, 2019. These were supplied by Schwencke and driven by 46-year-old Clare Karpinski from Cumbria to HMP Northumberland, where an unidentified passenger hurled them into the site.
Karpinski was recruited by her son Chance Beardmore, 23 – another inmate with an illicit phone – who was an intended recipient. “He escaped from the secure laundry room in order to collect the packages from a grassy area within the prison perimeter,” prosecutor Joe Allman told the court, “but was interrupted by prison officers who intercepted them.”
The items inside were potentially worth more than £32,000 in custody. They included cocaine, cannabis bush and hundreds of other controlled drug tablets, along with iPhones, USB cables, SIM cards, tobacco, alcohol, steroids, new syringes and needles.
Dixon and Schwencke both admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and were jailed for eight years eight months, and 10-and-a-half years, respectively.
Like Schwencke, Beardmore and his mother, both of Bedford Road, Birkenhead, admitted conveying articles into prison. Beardmore was jailed for 42 months, and Karpinski for 27 months.
Judge Nicholas Barker said the cocaine supply enterprise run by Dixon and Schwencke had been a “large scale, well informed and well-connected conspiracy”, while the plot to smuggle contraband into prison had been “very determined”.
*Another man involved in the plot, Simon Pipes, aged 30, of School Road, Cumwhinton, was jailed for six years at a previous hearing.