Andrew Pritchard sold cannabis in the 1980s and organised illegal raves in the 1990s. He had gangsters with guns provide security. This was all by his own admission. He was tried for importing hundreds of kilos of coke.He claimed he was smuggling in counterfeit cigars. Two juries failed to reach a verdict so he was acquitted.
This was all in MacIntyre’s underworld show.
I think he was smuggling cocaine – I do not know that he was. His claims seems implausible but it is just possible. His girlfriend blinked so much, looked away so much when asked if he was guilty. Her denials were unconvicing. The man himself was closer to believable.
But if he is innocent of importing cocaine then this is only because he is guilty of illegally importing tobacco. For such a massive tax dodge he should be behind bars for a few years – not the 35 that he would have been awarded for cocaine smuggling if he had been convicted of that.
The maximum sentence of supplying class A drugs is life. That said, I have never known it to be imposed. Even so life sentences can mean as little as 10 years.
Having been found not guilty of importing coke, he was not, so far as I know, charged with smuggling in tobacco. The case against him was overwhelming. He had said he smuggled in tobacco – he said it under oath for months. If he were to retract this statement couldn’t he be charged with perjury and the coke trafficking charges be reinstated?
He got off scot free. Very unfair. His chums said he was a loveable rogue. No he was far worse than that – a thoroughly bad man. I know it is wrong but there is a part of me that envies his wealth and daring – that even admires him. But this is bad of me. Sadly many poor boys will try to copy him. He is the role model for them.
I am minded to say we should legalise the weaker strains of weed. Hard drugs are a different matter. The libertarian in me says that people should be allowed to use them and prohibition is foredoomed. I have heard that experiments in issuing drugs for free causes crime to fall dramatically. This option appeals to me. If these fools want to ruin their health, let them. Just so long as they do not beat old folks to death whilst robbing them to pay for their next fix. It is not the drugs as such that harm others but the criminality that surrounds them.