Loaded revolver found hidden under kitchen sink at house in Leeds after police bugged drug dealer's car

Police found a loaded revolver at a house in Leeds after they bugged a drug dealer's car and heard conversations relating to buying a gun.

Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 4:45 pm

Officers also recovered skunk cannabis worth £6,800 belonging to Oratio Morton when they carried out the raid at the property on Hillcrest Avenue, Chapeltown.

Police had earlier heard the defendant discussing the purchase of a firearm after they placed a listening device in his brother's car as they investigated him for importing drugs into the UK.

Leeds Crown Court heard Malachi Morton was placed under surveillance after he arranged for drugs to be posted to the UK from the USA and Jamaica.

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Oratio Morton was jailed for six years and three months.

Matthew Donkin, prosecuting, said Border Force officers intercepted a package at Gatwick Airport on February 23 last year.

High purity cocaine with a street value of £1,084 was found inside a zipped purse within the package.

Officers then went to the house in Leeds where the package had been addressed to.

A women at the property told police she had taken delivery of parcels at her home on behalf of Malachi on three previous occasions.

She said she had known him for ten years and had originally allowed him to send a package to her home after he told her it was a gift for a relative.

The woman said she signed for another parcel and on a further occasion she missed a delivery as she was not at home.

She described how Malachi "went mad" at her for missing the delivery and she asked him to stop sending packages to her home.

Officers then spoke to another woman who told them Malachi had arranged for parcels to be sent to her home on three occasions.

On one occasion he drove her to a delivery office in Morley to collect a parcel.

Mr Donkin said Malachi became angry with her when another package failed to arrive at her home.

He confronted her on Briggate in Leeds city centre and spat in her face before demanding £3,000 from her.

The court heard she returned home one day to find a kitchen knife on her sofa.

She knew Malachi had a key to her flat and believed it to be a threat.

Border Force officers intercepted another package at a delivery hub in Coventry on March 19 last year.

It was addressed to a property in Leeds and contained crack cocaine worth £1,830.

Mr Donkin said throughout that time police had placed Malachi under surveillance.

A listening device was placed in a Nissan Qashqai he had hired at Leeds Bradford Airport.

The prosecutor said recordings from the device demonstrated his involvement in drug supply.

Malachi used slang and code words referring to different types of cannabis and their values.

On one occasion he was recorded physically opening a package and referring to the smell and the texture of the class B drug.

On March 2 Oratio was recorded in the car having a conversation with an unknown male.

He made references to buying a firearm and ammunition.

Police executed a search warrant at Hillcrest Avenue and found a .44 calibre Smith and Wesson revolver containing five bullets in a cupboard under the kitchen sink.

A balaclava, a bullet proof vest and scales were also recovered from the property along with a quantity of cannabis.

Mr Donkin said: "The gun is an antique but still a prohibited weapon and was ready to be used."

The court heard Oratio was not at the property at the time but must have been made aware of the police raid.

He was recorded on the listening device saying: "I have got bud in my bedroom as well bruv.

"The burner is in the kitchen under the sink."

He was also recorded saying "Oh my days" and "I'm f*****."

Malachi was later arrested from the Nissan and a Rambo knife was recovered from the foot well.

A total of £5,060 in cash was seized from his then home in Huddersfield.

Mr Donkin said the notes contained traces of cannabis.

Oratio, 31, of Hillcrest Avenue, Chapeltown, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of ammunition and possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

He was jailed for six years and three months.

Malachi, 29, of Latchmere Drive, West Park, pleaded guilty to two counts of importation of cocaine and one of being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

He will be sentenced at a later date after a further hearing to determine the level of his involvement in the offending.

Both defendants have previous convictions for supplying drugs dating back to when they were youths.

Ian Brook, for Oratio, said the father-of-six pleaded guilty at an early stage and had not been in trouble for more than six years before the offending.

Kara Frith, for Malachi said: "He was offered an opportunity to make some money and regretfully he took that offer. His motivation at the time was financial."

Miss Frith said her client was responsible for taking delivery of the drugs on behalf of others and was not involved in selling them.