COURT has ordered a convicted drug dealer to hand over Â£150,000 after a successful application was made by officers from the West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART), under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
51 year old James Browne from the Eastern Green area of Coventry was handed a confiscation order today (Thursday 3 March 2011) at Birmingham Crown Court, which forces him to pay Â£156,589.94 within 6 months.
If Browne fails to pay the money back within the specified time, he faces a further two years and four months in prison and will still owe the money following the extended sentence.
Browne was sentenced to eight years in prison back in December 2009, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Browne was initially arrested as part of Operation Closedown, a major police operation which aimed to tackle crime on the streets of Coventry.
The court determined the total amount Browne benefited from due to his criminal activities was Â£244,000. Police, together with the courts have the power to revisit the confiscation order at a later stage, should he acquire more assets or money in the future.
Detective Inspector Chris Berrow, head of the West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) said: â€œIf you are convicted of drug dealing, we will come after your assets.
â€œWe hope this significant confiscation order will send a clear message to criminals that crime does not pay.
â€œWe also ask that if anyone has any information regarding Browneâ€™s assets that may have been acquired through his criminal activities, to contact us immediately.â€
Anyone who has information which they think might help is asked to contact officers on 0345 113 5000. Alternatively you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.