Fugitive Cocaine Dealer Finally Jailed After Getting Caught with £100,000 Worth of Narcotics

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A cocaine dealer who fled from court has been jailed after being caught with £100,000 worth of drugs. Mark Draper was sentenced this week after police found his apartment had been turned into a base for breaking down and repackaging cocaine and crack cocaine. Draper and his accomplice, Dylan Hyams, were linked to the operation after their fingerprints were found on blocks of drugs.

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In 2017, Draper made headlines for fleeing Liverpool Crown Court after appearing for another drug trafficking charge. He claimed he needed to use the toilet but seized the opportunity to escape. He was one of three men arrested after a police chase in Bootle that ended in a car crash. Officers found 8.87g of 78% pure crack cocaine in the vehicle, with Draper hiding in nearby bushes. He pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply.

However, the latest incident occurred when Merseyside Police executed a search warrant at Draper’s flat on Belem Close in Aigburth on January 10, 2022. Nobody was inside, so officers forced their way in, seizing cocaine valued at up to £90,000 and £5,500 worth of crack cocaine from a Footasylum bag in the bedroom. The search also uncovered around £1,600 in cash and a large empty package with remnants of white powder, suggesting it had been used to subdivide a kilogram of cocaine.

One of the seized blocks contained Hyams’ DNA, while a second one had Draper’s DNA. Hyams, who has 19 previous convictions for 29 offences, received a 10-year sentence in 2016 for robbery and was released on license in April 2021. He also served a further four-year sentence for conspiracy to commit burglary after he and a gang of criminals raided a family home in Yorkshire.

James Coutts, prosecuting, described the seized items as consistent with drug trafficking activities. Anthony O’Donohoe, Hyams’ legal representative, argued that his client was a regular visitor to Draper’s apartment and that his presence was not necessarily linked to the cocaine operation. Hyams has a partner and a child and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hyams was found guilty of being concerned in the supply of cocaine but was cleared of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine. He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. Draper, who admitted possession of crack cocaine and cocaine with intent to supply, as well as possession of cannabis, received a sentence of four years and four months.

During sentencing, Recorder Kendrick Horne said: “Mark Draper, you used your flat as a base for storing wholesale quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine and breaking them down for onward distribution. Dylan Hyams, your DNA was found on a half-kilogram cocaine package. The jury rejected your explanation as to how that came to be there. They must have been sure that you were actively involved in the repackaging.”

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