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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Drugs factory 'kingpin' convicted
A man at the centre of a multi-million pound international drugs ring has been found guilty of a producing, possessing and supplying crack cocaine.

Owen Clarke, 46, ran a drugs factory from his home in Sudbury, north London, before being arrested last June.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Clarke used women as "mules" to smuggle the drug from the Caribbean to Britain.

Clarke will be sentenced next week. Thirty people have been arrested and 13 jailed in connection with the ring.

Their sentences so far have totalled 123 years.

A major international drugs ring has been taken out of operation
Chief Superintendent John Coles

During Clarke's three-week trial the court heard how law enforcement agencies in America, Jamaica, Antigua and St Lucia had been involved in the investigation, along with the UK's Operation Trident.

Clarke, known in the music promotion business as Father Fowl, used his profits to fund a lavish lifestyle and used gigs to launder money.

He was caught when a police raid yielded 51 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of 1m.

Confiscation hearing

Detectives say it is difficult to know exactly how much of the drug he was responsible for manufacturing but believe his operation was worth millions of pounds.

Outside court ,Trident head Chief Superintendent John Coles said: "This operation is by far the biggest and most successful we have so far undertaken.

"It has meant a major international drugs ring has been taken out of operation, disrupting the supply of crack cocaine from the Caribbean to London and the rest of the UK."

Inquiries are continuing in a bid to find the fortune which is thought to be kept in off-shore accounts.

A confiscation hearing is due to take place later in the year.




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