A Horley couple have been ordered pay more than £190,000 of profits from their drug dealing.
Michael Agius, 69, and his wife, Lydia Camilleri-Agius, 57, of Grassmead, Burstow, Horley, were ordered to pay the funds at Lewes Crown Court on Friday (June 12).
Detective Inspector Mick Richards, head of the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit, said: “This is yet another example of excellent work by one of our expert financial investigators which has resulted in criminals being stripped of their profits.”
A spokesman for Sussex Police said Michael Agius was ordered to pay £6,014.93 and his wife must pay £185,186.98, as a result of joint benefit they had obtained from drugs trafficking.
Judge Kemp granted the confiscation orders under the proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Mrs Camilleri-Agius, who is the sole owner of their Surrey address, will now be required to sell or remortgage the property to satisfy her confiscation order.
Police restrained the property’s title in April 2013 and she has been given a period of three months to comply.
The spokesman said: “If they fail to pay Michael Agius will face another six months in prison, and Lydia another two years - and they will still have to pay.
“On the afternoon of 18 August 2012 a police patrol car stopped a blue Mercedes saloon in Pound Hill, Crawley and found Lydia Camilleri-Agius to be the sole occupant. Officers were concerned by her furtive behaviour and a search of the area around the car revealed a folded piece of paper with three self-seal bags containing a white substance. She was arrested for possession of drugs with intent to supply.
“A subsequent search of their home, where Michael Agius was present, revealed a large quantity of white powder on the middle shelf of the fridge. Further paraphernalia and a large amount of cash was also recovered. A small amount of cannabis was also seized from the main bedroom.
“The white powder was analysed and found to be amphetamine.
“On 9 March 2013 both were charged with being concerned in the supply of amphetamine and Michael was additionally charged with possession of 16.2 grams of cannabis. Lydia pleaded guilty and initially Michael pleaded guilty only to the possession charge.
“However, at Lewes Crown Court in June 2014 Michael changed his plea to guilty to the supply charge. A further charge of money laundering against Michael Agius which had been added during the court process was ordered to lie on the court file without being proceeded with.
“On 14 July 2014 Lydia was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years and Michael received a 15 months prison sentence.
“The subsequent financial investigation revealed significant cash sums passing through bank accounts held by both of them, and being used to pay off credit card bills as well as paying for holidays and high value vehicles. Neither of them had any legitimate employment which could explain the origin of these cash sums.”
Funds seized by the courts through POCA confiscation or cash forfeiture orders go to the central Government exchequer. However a proportion of this is returned to law enforcement. Sussex Police receive 50 per cent cash back from cash forfeitures and 18.75 per cent cash back from seized confiscation orders.
Sussex Police currently employ an extra six Financial Investigators and two Financial Intelligence Officers from part of these funds to continue the fight in seizing criminal assets, with the remainder being used to support crime reduction and diversion projects.
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