Woman Walks Free From Court After Living The 'High Life' Off The Back Of Family-Run Cocaine Business
These holiday pictures show the jetset life of a shop assistant who walked free from court after splashing out £100,000 ($120,000) on a string of extravagant trips abroad with her husband - thanks to a family-run cocaine trafficking racket.
Colleen Campbell, 33, worked part time for a budget department store and relied on tax credits, yet went on trips with husband Thomas to Cancún in Mexico, Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, Gran Canaria, Majorca and Bulgaria.
Thomas, also 33, claimed to be a personal trainer.
Holiday snaps showed the pair enjoying a yacht trip, sipping cocktails at a swim-up bar and soaking up the sun on a giant Rattan bed.
Colleen and Thomas were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court after admitting to concealing criminal property. Thomas was jailed for two years and Colleen was handed a 16-month jail term, which will be suspended for two years.
In December 2013 the couple from Clayton, Manchester, travelled in 'premium seats' to Cancún for a 10-day family holiday with their children, staying at the five-star Hard Rock Hotel. Their hotel included a jacuzzi and 24-hour room service, as well as an Xbox.
During the holiday, which cost £10,000 ($12,000) and was paid for in cash, the family were also said to have chartered a motorboat. The couple were accused of laundering drug money so they could sustain their lavish 'high life'. They are also alleged to have recruited members of their family to help deal with the money.
Over the course of 2012 to 2016, Colleen paid cash deposits on BMW, Audi and Mercedes cars, using monthly instalments to continue to pay for them until upgrading to a better model. At the time the police attended their home in 2015, the couple had a BMW and a high powered Mercedes worth £60,000 ($72,700) on their drive with matching number plates.
They now face a Proceeds of Crime hearing on 13 February 2020, which will determine how much money they will have to pay back.
Henry Blackshaw, who prosecuted the case, said: "This couple are a big fish in a medium pond living well off the back of criminality. They are charged with being involved in criminal property, using the cash and being able to spend it in legitimate ways.
"Together the family connections contributed to the way that Thomas and Colleen were living. They benefited from extreme profit off the back of illegal drug dealing. Thomas Campbell and his wife participated in living the high life.
"They were spending very extravagantly on holidays, on cars, on house renovations which did not fit in with their legitimate income of a few thousand pounds.
"Colleen was working part time at Matalan and also relying on tax credits and child credit, and Thomas purported to make money as a personal trainer."
Mr Blackshaw added: "We say this is a façade to create a legitimate business. If you look at the photos of him on holiday, it wouldn't seem the case that he was working out at that point in his life. He is carrying a bit of weight."
As well as their holidays, the couple spent over £50,000 ($60,500) on an extension and renovating the property they lived in - which included installing flat screen TVs, a gym area in the garden, a personal bar and a TV bed.
Manchester Crown Court heard that on both sides of the family, there were links to family members who had been convicted of possession with intent to supply cocaine.
Mr Campbell's brother Lee Campbell and his cousin Stephen Campbell have both been convicted of possession with intent to supply cocaine. Colleen Campbell's brother, Brian Bowden had also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to supply cocaine.
After the case Det Sgt Dominic Campbell, from Greater Manchester Police's Serious Crime and Public Protection Division, said: "We know how demoralising it is for the hard-working, law-abiding members of the public to see criminals in our communities showing off their ill-gotten gains that have been funded as a result of crime.
"The public can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned and we will be relentless in pursuit of those who profit from organised crime.''
Featured Image Credit: Cavendish Press