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Travel agent hid cocaine in office walls

Illegal drugs worth €620,000 and bundles of cash were found at properties and in a car owned by the director of a travel agency.

The director of a travel agency who ran a cocaine business from his office in Rochester in southeast England, where he stashed illegal drugs and cash in the walls, has been given an eight-year prison sentence, TTG reports.

Police found packages of cocaine with a street value of nearly £540,000 (€620,000) in December at the office of First and Business Class Travel run by Neil Wheatley, aged 46, and more than £45,000 in cash.

About a tenth of the stash was hidden in the walls of his office, and more was found in the airbag section of his car.

Wheatley pleaded guilty earlier this year to the supply of class-A drugs and possession of criminal property. He was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court.

“All the indications are that Neil Wheatley was one of the leaders of an organised crime group who sold large amounts of crack cocaine on the streets of Kent and beyond,” Chief Inspector Rob Marsh said.

“Law-abiding people do not usually stuff bundles of cash into walls or airbag compartments, so it is no surprise Wheatley pleaded guilty to the offences he was charged with.”

“Legitimate business”
Wheatley was stopped in his car on December 14 and a search of the vehicle found the cocaine, cash and three mobile phones.

Police later searched three properties, including the office in central Rochester where a “significant quantity of cash and drugs” was hidden in a wall behind an air vent.

A prosecutor explained that the travel agency was a “legitimate business” set up by Wheatley and two partners but was used by Wheatley himself as a “drugs operation base”.

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