‘Trusted’ gang member put behind bars for six years

A JOBLESS father-of-one from Denton, who led a lavish jet-set lifestyle funded by a cocaine trafficking racket, has been jailed for six years.

Remi Phythian, 26, was unemployed because of a motorbike accident yet enjoyed 16 holidays to exotic locations including New York, Dubai, Thailand and Ibiza after being recruited as a “trusted” senior member of a crime gang.

Over five years, Phythian banked £40,000 and acquired a travel card which was used in £5,400 worth of transactions in Las Vegas and Hollywood.

Police arrested Phythian on March 3 inside a Tesco supermarket in Stockport after he parked his Mercedes van outside with 1kg of cocaine worth £100,000 left in a carrier bag on the front passenger seat to go shopping.

Officers searched his home at Worths Nook and recovered thousands of pounds worth of designer clothing, 15 pairs of Nike Air Max trainers and a snowboard. They also found a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 motorbike, a KTM 300 motorbike, a Honda CBR 1000 motorbike and a Ducati motorbike. Officers also seized two off road bikes in the bust.

Inquiries revealed he had weighted and bagged the drugs at his property and a phone he had was used to send group text ‘blast’ messages to addicts reminding them drugs including cocaine, ketamine and MDMA were available for sale.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Phythian admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply and possessing criminal property. He claimed had been looking after the block of cocaine for someone else.

The court heard the arrest took place when officers from a specialist operations team swooped on Phythian as he was shopping for groceries.

Mr Philip Hall, prosecuting, said: “Police recovered his car keys and searched the Mercedes which was in the car park outside and they found a Tesco carrier bag on the front passenger seat in plain sight containing a block of cocaine which was 77 per cent pure.

“They later searched his home and found a tupperware box containing typical tools of a drug dealer including disposable gloves, snap bags and scales.”

Police also found cocaine worth £800 in the house and tests showed the scales had been used to weight cocaine ketmaine and MDMA. They also seized bundles of cash totaling £4,175 and a debtors list. One message related to the trafficking of cannabis into a prison.

Mr Hall added: “Inquiries revealed there was no declared income by the defendant to the HMRC since 2015.

“Yet between March 2015 and April 2020 his bank accounts showed unexplained credits to the value of £39,864 ranging from £72 to £2,000 with £500 being a common deposit.

“His travel arrangements were also investigated and between 2016 and 2019 he made 16 trips abroad with some involving his partner and child to destinations including Dubai, New York, Ibiza and Thailand.

“In his wallet was a travel card which was activated in 2017 and there had been £5,400 loaded onto the card which was spent in Las Vegas, Hollywood and New York. He spent at least £10,000 on foreign travel alone but that does not include accommodation.

“He had been living well beyond his legitimate means for a number of years. He has been running a profitably enterprise from drug dealing and he must be a trusted member within the drug dealing chain to be allowed to store over 1kg of cocaine.”

Phythan gave no comment in a police interview. He had a previous conviction from 2010 for producing cannabis.

Defence lawyer Kay Driver said her client had been suffering from depression relating to a motorbike accident in 2015 and claimed he was planning to give up drug dealing to earn a ‘legitimate income’ to support his family.

She added: “Previously he had been working on a casual basis but after the accident he was unable to walk and unable to work for a significant period of time.

“This had an effect on him physically and mentally and sent him into a downward spiral – sometimes using drugs for pain relief and also to escape matters. He got into debt and began supplying drugs to support his habit. But given the lifestyle he was living recent he went beyond paying off that debt.”

Judge John Potter said: “It seems clear to me that you were a trusted member of a sophisticated drugs chain and you were clearly motivated by financial advantage.

“You were dealing in harmful sometimes fatal substances. When people seek to undermine the community by dealing such harmful sometimes fatal substances the law says they must go to prison immediately and that is your fate.”

Phythian will face a proceeds of crime hearing later.

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