Paul F. was an acquaintance of mine. We occasionally drank together; our girlfriends got on with each other, you know, the usual bar crowd friendship!
The last time I saw him was probably about 3 years ago, in a bar in Chingford in East London. He was his usual self, happy, confidant, wealthy and relaxed. Everything seemed to going ok for him he had a successful business apparently in overseas real estate and would talk about buying and selling apartment blocks in the Far East as though it was a one bed flat round the corner.
The reason I mention all this, is that I have been following a court case that he has been involved in which has culminated in a jail sentence for Paul of twenty one years.
Whilst I can feel sorry for Paul for the amount of time he will be away at her Majesty’s pleasure. I can’t help feeling that this man and his associates deserve every day of that sentence. I know that sounds harsh but if you own illegal firearms in this country and have pictures of yourself showing them off on your facebook page, well I think we can agree you are asking for trouble!
That said he admitted that particular offence and was sentenced to seven years at Exeter Crown Court yesterday.
Paul along with several colleagues also transported millions of Pounds worth of Class A drugs from their Essex base to supply their clients in and around the south west of England.
The enterprise allowed for an amazing lifestyle, which involved luxury supercars, speedboats and villas on the Costa del Sol and in the English countryside.
It is rumoured that the gang supplied at least £3,000,000 worth of cocaine. That may not sound a lot, but let me put some perspective on this. If like me you are a recovered addict, or you may be using or you may know someone who has or does, most of us will know what a wrap of cocaine will look like, now imagine 120,000 of those and you will get a rough idea of what £3,000,000 of cocaine looks like, and if that is the wholesale value (£25.00 per gram) you can double that to 240,000 separate grams by the time it is cut with a range of other products, multiply that by a street price of £50.00 a wrap and the street figure becomes £12,000,000.
This enterprise almost certainly cost lives, not just of those who have been rightfully jailed, but of those who have become addicted, as I once was, to a hideous and dreadful product that I allowed to steal my life from me, it is a product that will rob you of family, friends, work, and if untreated your life.
It will cause more heartache than you can imagine it will destroy families, tear apart relationships it will rob you of the power to choose.
So am I sorry that Paul was sentenced to fourteen years for this crime (plus seven years for the firearms offences) and a total of twenty-one years, effectively a life sentence. The answer is no I am not, I am sorry for his family and friends, but I am infinitely more sorry for those people and their families who were affected and afflicted by Paul and his gang.