[M]ORE than £700,000 has been confiscated from a Durham man convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Barry Armstrong, of Brackenhill Avenue, Shotton Colliery, has been ordered to pay the substantial sum after a Proceeds of Crime Order was made at Durham Crown Court on Friday (July 7).
In February 2013, after a two-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
He was sentenced to 10 years and nine months in prison.
Armstrong had denied the offence, which was alleged to have taken place in Shotton Colliery and the surrounding areas between March and September 2011.
He had pleaded guilty to tax evasion and money laundering at an earlier hearing.
He was brought to justice as part of the Force’s Operation Sledgehammer – an initiative aimed at tackling organised crime.
It has been calculated that Armstrong, now 51, made £846,345 from his criminal behaviour. He is considered to still have £718,772 of that available – the amount confiscated in the order.
Financial Investigator Lindsay Toward said: “This has been a long and very complex investigation.
“Serious and organised crime has a major impact on the community and we are committed to supporting those affected and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
“The decision made by the courts to confiscate more than £700,000 from Armstrong should send out the clear message that crime does not pay and we will robustly deal with those involved in this kind of activity.”
Armstrong has three months to pay the money. If this is not done he can be given a further three year jail sentence.
A proportion of the money confiscated from Armstrong will be used to support community projects.