Veteran drug lord Karl Pettitt faces another stretch behind bars after being jailed today (Friday) for his role as the top of a pyramid in which cocaine has been imported into the UK since the Colombia and flooded the streets of East Yorkshire.
Two other men, Jordan Marsh, 20 and an 18-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, were also jailed for their role in facilitating the 51-year-old crime after pleading guilty to conspiracy to provide class A drugs.
Pettitt, ran the Vanguard Antiques store on Beverley’s historic North Bar Within, and appeared to many as a successful businessman who wore expensive designer clothes.
But in jailing Pettitt, a judge described how the antique business was actually barely profitable and used as a front for his drug business that preyed on people’s habits and debt.
Pettitt pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, but was convicted following a trial in Crown Court of Hull.
The court heard that Pettitt’s offense dated back to 1996 and that he was currently licensed to a 15-year sentence imposed in 2007 when he moved to Beverley. The conspiracy with Marsh, the court heard, resulted in the sale of 100kg of cocaine with a market value of Â£ 3.8million to others.
Their offense was halted in its early stages in April 2019 when police pulled them over, following concerns over how Pettitt was funding his lavish lifestyle.
Jailing Pettitt, His Worship Justice Thackray QC said the drug trade “would undoubtedly explain your extravagant lifestyle”, adding that his business partner Vanguard “described the antique trade as doing very little” and that ‘he had been “reluctant to sell the stock, much to his frustration”.
âYou obviously had your priorities and interests elsewhere. The drug trade was going to be much more profitable than the antiques business, and it was the former rather than the latter that had motivated you.
âI have no doubt that Beverley’s business was a sham and that you were using it to cover up your planned crime.
Judge Thackray QC added: “You followed a path which led you from being a schoolboy involved, as you told the jury, in dealing with the drug cartels in the Colombian jungle, then in the village of Beverley, where you assumed you could quietly operate under the radar. “
Marsh was also jailed for five years after pleading guilty to trafficking cocaine during the five months he was involved with Pettitt.
The judge told him: “You were motivated by a financial advantage, namely the financing of your own habits and your plans to use the profits to buy motorcycles.”
Speaking to the 18-year-old, who received an 18-month detention order after pleading guilty to trafficking cocaine for a period of two months, the judge said: “I have no doubt that you have been influenced by other people older than you, and that as a young person you have the capacity to change and to rehabilitate yourself.
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