A successful financial adviser who bankrolled a mini-bus to be used as a front for cocaine dealing has been jailed.
Steven Budgen forked out £30,000 to buy the vehicle to be used by taxi driver Paul Williams to deal the drugs. He also provided the cash for the drugs, and knew where to source them from, Mold Crown Court heard.
Budgen, 35, from Prestatyn, was also addicted to cocaine. He was jailed for three and a half years. Budgen had a successful career and a good family life but became involved in the sale of class A drugs to numerous customers.
Judge Nicolas Parry said that he accepted that Budgen did not sell cocaine himself – Williams did that “under the cover of being a taxi driver.” But it could not have happened without Budgen’s role - a significant role one which he had played for 17 months.
The judge said that he took into account that it was a personal tragedy for Budgen and the effect of his imprisonment on his totally innocent family. He had been dependent on cocaine himself and his consideration was often drugs and not money.
Prosecuting barrister Karl Scholz told how minibus driver Paul Williams was stopped on the A55 in April 2016 as a result of intelligence. More than £4,000 worth of cocaine was discovered along with a dealer’s list, and his phones revealed text messages with Budgen discussing setting up the joint venture.
Williams, 52, from Prestatyn, was due to be sentenced at the same time but his case was adjourned and he was remanded in custody in the meantime.
David Malcolm Glenister, also from Prestatyn, who had previously pleaded guilty to being involved in cocaine supply on the basis that he ran “Williams’ shop” while he was away for two weeks, received an 18- month prison sentence suspended for two years, with 300 hours’ unpaid work.
The judge told him that he did it in return for the use of Williams’ property “because you foolishly wanted to impress a lady half your age” and to whom he had supplied drugs.
Judge Parry said Glenister was helping himself “to the sweets from the shop” – the cocaine.
He worked on Williams’ behalf – selling drugs and collecting money for him, on one occasions much as £600.
North Wales Police DS Dean Jones said: “Budgen is now paying the consequences of his criminal activities. We won’t tolerate those who bring harm to our communities by supplying illegal drugs and will make every effort to bring such offenders before the courts.”