A drug dealer has been jailed for seven years for supplying cocaine worth thousands of pounds to a network of buyers in Devon. Graphic designer Zachary Gardener received large payments into his three bank accounts from dealers operating in the student areas of Plymouth and had a cocaine cutting workshop at his home in Holsworthy. Scores of text messages showed he was buying the drugs in bulk and dividing them up to be sold on the streets or through a network of friends. He claimed he was running a small scale operation and only supplying a small group of party goers but police found a large supply of a cutting agent as well as mixing bowls at his home. Gardener’s operation was raided after a former partner was arrested on suspicion of selling drugs from her flat in the centre of Bideford and his rooms at the family home in Holsworthy were searched. Gardener, 25, of Mitre Court, Holsworthy, admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine and was jailed for seven years by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him: ”You were retailing through others in Plymouth. I reject your evidence you were only supplying on a social scale to a few friends when going to parties. “You were involved in the supply of cocaine on a commercial scale for profit. The evidence was overwhelming. You were heavily engaged in dealing and bought cocaine in multi ounce quantities. “You were buying cocaine and wholesaling to friends in Plymouth who were retailing to others. Your accounts showed you received more than £18,000 which was paid in at Plymouth between late 2011 and April 2012. “You were in possession of a further 202 grams of benzocaine, which is a cutting agent. You had your own business buying and selling on a commercial scale and clearly played a significant operational and management role in which you were motivated by financial advantage.” Gardener admitted supplying the drug but his role in the operation was determined by the Judge after a five day fact finding hearing in June. At the end of that case Judge Gilbert identified links between text traffic between Gardener and his dealers in Plymouth and payments by them into bank branches in Mutley and Armada Way. During the trial the court heard how Gardener and his customers used drugs slang as code to hide their dealing in a trail of thousands of text messages. A police expert explained that terms like snow, lively and posh to denote cocaine; cheese and red diesel for skunk. They also had code words for different amounts, such as Hen for an eighth of an ounce, short for Henry VIII, and Kellogg for kilogram. Trips to buy or sell drugs were described as missions, deliveries as tickets, money as paper, and drugs or personal use as Percy. Ex-public schoolboy Gardener claimed the money paid into his accounts came from organising dance events in North Devon or the repayment of loans to friends. He said he had sold legal highs and some of the cash credits shown on bank statements came from this. He admitted sharing drugs with friends but insisted he was never a commercial dealer and never made any money. Richard Crabb, defending, said Gardener had been very far from the top of the supply chain and his text messages showed he was buying his drugs from a bigger-time dealer nicknamed Twinkletoes.