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Drugs conspiracy trial: What we know so far about alleged cocaine dealing plot

Sep 13, 2021

Drugs conspiracy trial: What we know so far about alleged cocaine dealing plot John Watson, 41, Steven Beazley, 39, and Craig Costello, 38, are accused of conspiring to supply class A drugs (From Left) John Watson and Craig Costello are among the defendants standing trial (Image: CHP) A trial involving three Teesside men who are accused of being connected to a major cocaine dealing plot has begun. John Watson, 41, Steven Beazley, 39, and Craig Costello, 38, are accused of conspiring to supply class A drugs between September 2015 and October 2016. All three men deny the charge and are currently standing trial at Teesside Crown Court. Read more: Go here for the latest reports and live updates from Teesside's courts Last week, a jury was sworn in and the case was opened by prosecutor, Stephen McNally, who gave an introduction to what the case was about. The trial is estimated to last until mid-October with further evidence set to be heard this week. It did not sit on Monday as no cases were heard at Teesside Crown Court due to problems with the building's power supply. Here's everything we know so far: What is the background to the case? The Cleveland Police led Operation Spoonbill was initially concerned with the activities surrounding Thailand-based Teesside kingpin Jonathon Moorby and his links to Merseyside gangster Lance Kennedy . Drug bosses Lance Kennedy and Jonathon Moorby The three defendants who are currently standing trial were allegedly one part of a series of customer groups being supplied by a wider organisation - but there is no suggestion the trio were “behind it all”. Was the trial delayed? Originally there were five defendants set to face the trial. But David Wright, 42, of Steele Crescent, South Bank pleaded guilty after being arraigned again on Tuesday afternoon. Wright also faced a charge of converting criminal property between the same dates, however, in light of his guilty plea, the court was told the Crown will no longer pursue that charge. He also admitted possessing a Class B drug, cannabis, at a previous hearing. Bonnie Kelly and David Lee Wright, (Image: Evening Gazette) Judge Howard Crowson granted Wright unconditional bail, and he will be sentenced after the completion of the trial. The jury heard that Wright will be mentioned frequently throughout the course of the trial. A fifth defendant, Bonnie Kelly, 39, was formally found not guilty of converting criminal property and possessing a class B drug - cannabis. Ms Kelly, of South Bank was released by Judge Crowson. What are the defendants alleged to have done? Watson, of Moorgate, Eston, Costello, of Chesterfield Drive, Marton, Middlesbrough, and Beazley, of Barmouth Road, Middlesbrough, are alleged to have been part of an “agreement” that class A drugs would be supplied across Teesside - and that the conspiracy was “quite sophisticated and well organised”. All three are alleged to have been in contact with each other frequently at a time when drug couriers from Merseyside were heading over to the North East. The prosecution alleges that the three men used many mobile phones to conduct business. What is the evidence against them? Were any drugs found? During his opening, Mr McNally told the jury it was a “dry conspiracy”, and that no seizure of drugs was made from any of the defendants. “There isn’t a smoking gun”, he said, but said there was an "inference" to the trio's alleged involvement due to their contact with Merseyside couriers and others that have been convicted in the conspiracy. Evidence is yet to be heard, but Mr McNally said that a significant amount of evidence comes from mobile telephone bills and phone activity and that “patterns and combinations” of what was happening on phones would be looked at using “cell-site data”. What do the defendants say? The defence's case has yet to be made however the prosecution opening did include some details of the men's denials. In August 2016, a trip was made to the North East by a Merseyside courier and David Wright was a point of contact. Wright was in Spain, but Costello and Beazley were in phone contact with the courier. Watson was also speaking to Costello. Prosecutors says the Merseyside courier was then seen arriving at Beazley’s home. Within a few minutes he left, but as he left the home, he could be seen carrying a white bag. Beazley then made a call to Costello. Beazley said he couldn’t remember any of these events in police interview but accepted he knew the other defendants and denied being part of any drugs conspiracy. Speaking of Watson’s alleged role, prosecutors say he was in regular contact with the others. Watson also had a phone number which was the same as Wright, bar two digits. The inference being they were SIM cards that were purchased together, Mr McNally said. In March 2019, Watson was arrested and denied any involvement in the drugs business but said he did know the other defendants. He said he had a security business and didn’t drive and said he couldn’t remember the phone numbers he used. The trial is expected to resume on Tuesday, when the prosecution is expected to bring its first witness. Proceeding.

David Wright Investments

2 Investments

David Wright has made 2 investments. Their latest investment was in Applifier as part of their Series B on December 12, 2012.

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David Wright Investments Activity

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Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

12/12/2012

Series B

Applifier

$4M

Yes

2

Other Investors

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$99M

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10

Date

12/12/2012

Round

Series B

Other Investors

Company

Applifier

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Amount

$4M

$99M

New?

Yes

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Co-Investors

Sources

2

10

David Wright Portfolio Exits

1 Portfolio Exit

David Wright has 1 portfolio exit. Their latest portfolio exit was Applifier on March 13, 2014.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

3/13/2014

Acquired

1

Date

3/13/2014

Exit

Acquired

Companies

Valuation

Acquirer

Sources

1

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