The head of a million pound drugs gang has been ordered to pay back just £1 of the cash he made through crime - and been given three months to do it.
Career criminal Steven Ellis was jailed for over six years after an undercover police surveillance operation smashed his supply network which flooded the streets of Wearside with cocaine.
Investigators pursued him under the Proceeds of Crime Act to enable them to seize any property, cash or assets he had.
But at a Newcastle Crown Court hearing on Friday, August 3, it was said Ellis has no assets to seize, despite personally benefiting by £155,688 through crime.
The drugs gang was arrested after a police surveillance team stopped a taxi heading from Middlesbrough to Sunderland and found half a kilo of cocaine with a street value of around £500,000.
At Newcastle Crown Court during a previous hearing Ellis, 42, of Mulberry, Coxhoe, Co Durham, was jailed for six years and three months.
At a later hearing John Connolly, 45, of Matford Avenue, Middlesbrouth, who the judge said was one step down from Ellis in the drugs "chain", was jailed for five-and-a-half years.
Darren Rainton, 31, of Garnett Street, Sunderland, who was in the cab when the drugs were found and admitted involvement in eight separate drugs runs, was jailed for four years.
Ellis's common law father-in-law Gordon Ellis, 52, of Vale Street, Sunderland, was jailed for four years for his involvement.
They had all admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Darren Wild, 42, of Kitchener Street, Sunderland, Anthony Warwick, 35, of Edward Street, Middlesbrough and David Standing, 59, of Marshall Avenue, Middlesbrough, were all given suspended 12 month prison sentences, with various requirements, for being concerned in the supply of the drug.
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