Now we're going after other suspects, says inquiry lead detective
THE jailing of a major player in the Cornwall drugs scene sends out a message to other people involved in illegal activities, says the detective who led the inquiry team.
After a long police investigation Trevor Duncan Worth, known as Duncan, was jailed for five and half years last week after being convicted of laundering drugs money by a jury trial at Truro Crown Court.
Detective Constable Chris Panther led Operation Murdoch, which looked into Worth's activities and finances, and said the conviction showed police did not have to find a person in possession of drugs to secure a guilty verdict.
"Just because we don't find drugs on you doesn't mean we can't convict you of being involved in drugs," he said.
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"Duncan Worth's been a big player in the drugs scene in Cornwall for a long time. Everyone in Truro and Falmouth knows about Duncan Worth and that he's been a drug dealer for a number of years."
DC Panther, based at Truro detective said the operation was led by intelligence the police had received that Worth had used money from drug-dealing to buy and refurbish his house on St Michael's Road in Ponsanooth.
In early 2010 a joint investigation by the Truro Criminal Investigation Department and the Financial Investigation Unit was launched.
The officers involved did not know it at the time, but Operation Murdoch would end up running for more than three years, and snaring a number of others involved in drugs in Cornwall, before officers were able to convict their target.
What followed was a painstaking investigation focused on trawling through the bank details and financial records of Duncan Worth and his associates.
Financial investigator Lyn Manaton, who led this part of the inquiry, said she was pleased by the five-and-a-half-year sentence handed down last Wednesday. "This is a man who has orchestrated stuff for a long time and it's basically about removing that from the streets, and for the general public to see that drug-dealing doesn't pay," she said.
Worth was arrested in November 2011 after police officers raided his home in Ponsanooth and found a list of materials used in cannabis production and more than £1,000 in cash.
The money, and gloves and car mats taken from the vehicle he was driving at the time, were analysed using a sophisticated forensic technique called mass spectrometry to look for traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in cannabis.
DC Panther said: "He had lots of cash in his drawer.
"It had more than the average amount of cannabis on it. That supported the fact that it was drug money."
With Worth now serving his sentence, DC Panther said, the force was free to direct its attention to other suspects.
"We're not going to stop here," he said. "There are others we'll be pursuing."