A sophisticated drugs gang plotted to produce and supply £5m worth of cocaine in Wigan, a court heard.
They arranged to import the drug from Mexico in two cargoes and despite police raiding their Ashton lock-up they went on to arrange a further consignment hidden in a coffee bean shipment from California, it was claimed.
Alleged ringleader Adam Perks is still at large having fled the country, but his brother Simon Perks is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court along with Christopher Thompson and Stacey Heath.
Perks, 40, of Sefton Road, Orrell, Thompson, 41, of St Wilfrid’s Road, Standish, and Heath, 33, of Prescott Lane, Kitt Green, deny conspiracy to produce cocaine.
Prosecuting, Alaric Bassano told the jury that Adam Perks planned importations in 2013 and his cocaine was “adulterated, pressed into blocks and packaged” at the lock-up. The next year he arranged for more cocaine to be smuggled in and organised a filtration process for the drug to be extracted from the coffee.
Heath’s partner Martin Fish was Adam Perks’s right hand man who went to Felixstowe to help recover the cocaine hidden in the coffee and carried out the extraction at home. Two other men, Anthony Jenkinson and Thomas Gore, were Perks’s “foot soldiers” carrying out the mixing and pressing of cocaine at the lock-up.
Mr Bassano said Fish, 30, of Bell Lane, Kitt Green, Gore, 37, of Scot Lane, Newtown, and Anthony Jenkinson, 35, of Inward Drive, Shevington, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
He said Thompson was a trusted friend of Adam Perks and went to Felixstowe to recover the drug and also helped him flee the UK.
Mr Bassano claimed Heath “knew what her partner and the others were doing.
“She stood to gain from it, in text messages she expressed delight at the imminent fortune being made and she knowingly allowed her house to be used for the extraction process.”
Mr Bassano said Adam Perks made several trips to Colombia in 2013 and later made money transfers to people there, Peru - another cocaine-producing country - and Mexico, through which much of South America’s cocaine is trafficked.
The jury heard there was no evidence the trio on trial were involved in those planned importations nor that they actually took place. Adam Perks was arrested in November 2013 but there was then not enough evidence to prosecute him and in June 2014 he flew to Colombia and is still believed to be abroad.
Police raided the lock-up in Pretoria Road in March 2014. Jenkinson and Gore were arrested and officers seized two presses and associated blocks.
Despite the seizures, Adam Perks continued his illegal operation and bought chemicals to facilitate cocaine extraction and Fish bought another press.
In May 2014 Fish sent him a message about the imminent arrest of a dealer likely to be out of action for some time and they “evidently expected to have sufficient drugs to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Mr Bassano.
The next month a container arrived at Felixstowe allegedly containing cocaine hidden in coffee beans and Simon Perks and Thompson went there after it was unloaded.
When the home shared by Fish and Heath in Prescott Lane was searched they found a makeshift lab, the chemicals and products needed for the extraction process.
A search of Simon Perks’s then home in Ridyard Street, Norley, found a mobile used to operate an eBay account using his brother’s email address to order various chemicals which could be used for the extraction process and they were delivered to Simon’s home.