Dad secretly built cocaine enterprise behind partner’s back

A father secretly built a cocaine enterprise worth tens of thousands of pounds behind his partner’s back after losing his job.

Russell Paine’s illicit operation saw him stash ill-gotten cash worth £45,000, alongside numerous parcels of cocaine, around his family home in Folkestone.

Russell Paine has been jailed. Picture: Facebook

The dad-of-three’s elaborate scheme – which even included the installation of a security safe – surfaced when officers noticed him acting “visibly nervous” during a routine patrol.

Paine, 31, was jailed for three years and eight months at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday (Thursday).

His partner handed the judge a letter saying she had been unaware of his drug dealing antics between June and September, 2022.

Police stopped Paine’s vehicle in his hometown when they noticed him acting “visibly nervous,” prosecutors said.

During a search, officers discovered 11 small bags of cocaine, an envelope containing £20 notes, alongside iPhone and Nokia phones.

Judge Catherine Brown

When officers raided Paine’s home they discovered “there was already a drugs operation going on,” prosecutor Sarah Fairburn said.

Drug dealing paraphernalia including scales, baggies, a tick-book, quantity of cocaine and £40k cash had been hidden in various areas of the house.

Paine made a no comment police interview and was subsequently released on bail.

But the same officer who arrested Paine for the previous drugs offence witnessed him acting suspiciously with two men in a park.

When Paine was searched his Nokia contained a message arranging to meet individuals and £60 cash.

He was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court

A subsequent search of his home uncovered cash worth £5k inside a safe and a lesser amount of cocaine hidden below a bed and in the kitchen.

Paine would plead guilty at an early opportunity to two counts of dealing Class A drugs and two counts of acquiring criminal property – roughly £45k in total.

His partner, who attended court, handed Judge Catherine Brown a letter describing the detriment an immediate spell in custody would have on their family.

In the document, she also revealed Paine had embarked on the enterprise without her knowledge.

Mitigating, Oliver Kelham said Paine, who was visibly upset in the dock, felt “huge regret” for his actions.

Mr Kelham said he turned to street dealing after losing his job and “not all the money was going to be kept by him”.

But Judge Brown told Paine he was “not a mere street” but “someone high up in the chain of command in that operation”.

Ahead of ordering the £45k to be donated to charity, Judge Brown told Paine cocaine “destroys peoples’ lives, destroys health and family’s lives.”

Paine, of Eastfields, has been held on remand since September 30 and will have time deducted from his overall sentence.

Courts Crime Folkestone Kent News Sean Axtell

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