The case of a former KFC worker-turned drug dealer took a new turn after the court decided to seize £1.8 million that was reportedly made off an illicit drug business.
Paul Johnson, the 32-year-old suspect who was handed an eight-year prison sentence, returned to Leicester Crown Court to attend a hearing about the proceeds of crime case that would resolve to confiscate his assets.
It is reported that Johnson, a first class honors degree holder, had lost all hope in the job market that he decided to venture into the drug business.
Inside Johnson’s Drug Empire
While operating under the fake identity of a tea trader, the suspect succeeded to establish a robust drug empire – dealing in the importation and sake of more than 200 kilos of heroin, LSD, cannabis, cocaine and ketamine. The court learned that the suspect used the Bitcoin digital currency and the dark web to facilitate his transactions.
Investigators found out that Johnson’s lucrative drug business was operated from the attic of his residence in Market Harborough where he lived with his spouse Lia Taylor-Walton.
According to the prosecutor in Johnson’s case, the suspect had used the parcel delivery system to move drugs from Canada, Spain and other global destinations. All imported consignments would then be packaged in his attic before being distributed to individuals across the UK and interested buyers used the dark web to order drugs from Johnson.
It was in December 13, 2017 that the authorities caught up with the suspect and acted on a search warrant issued against Johnson’s residence. The police operation led to the seizure of an assortment of banned substances in his attic, including packaging materials that were reportedly meant for Johnson’s fake tea trade.
During the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing for Johnson’s case, the court found that the suspect had made profit gains to the tune of £2,183,304 off the illicit drug business. However, the court could only confiscate £1.8million – most of which was stashed in frozen bank accounts.
Concerning the procedure of the funds’ handover, the court directed that the £1.8million be remitted in a 90-day timeframe. In addition, the court also gave instructions that would see the acquisition of the funds recovered from the sale of home where Johnson and his wife resided, including the sale of other assets to include two motor vehicles that were valued at a total of £23,300.
Johnson, who was described as an individual who “had an addition” for the illegal sale of great amounts of drugs, pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against him at a former court hearing. Among the charges that the suspect faced included the acquisition of criminal property, money and the supply of class A and B drugs between the period constituting February 2015 and December 2017.
Johnson’s wife, 28-year-old Taylor-Walton, also admitted to the acquisition of criminal property charge that included their home and two motor vehicles. She was handed a two-year jail sentence and even though she did not appear for the recent Proceeds of Crime hearing, the court decided that she had also benefited about £143,040 from the criminal drug enterprise – the judge directed that the confiscation of £134,872 in her case.
To understand the context of this case, the law provides that any money that has been made through an offence can be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This covers the assets purchased from returns gained through criminal activity.
Typically, confiscated funds are normally distributed between police departments, the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service. Some case may see that recovered funds are paid to victims of crime as compensation.