Manchester: Mothers caught packing £123,000 worth of cocaine

Ellie Mortin (left) and Courtney Larkin (right)

Ellie Mortin (left) and Courtney Larkin (right) were caught packing over 1kg of drugs (Image: Cavendish Press)

Two mothers were caught in the act with an ALDI bag full of cocaine and paraphernalia for life.

Courtney Larkin, 24, and her friend Ellie Mortin, 21, bagged 1kg of the drug as they got ready to go out for lunch.

Manchester Crown Court heard the couple were sitting next to a mirror, dressing up, when police entered Larkin’s home in Stalybridge.

Next to them, the officers discovered the ALDI bag and 37 packages that the two had already prepared.

Investigations revealed that Larkin had set up her own drugs hotline and acquired 1kg of cocaine worth £123,000 to sell wholesale to local street vendors.

Charlotte Crangle, prosecutor, said: “Mortin visited Larkin’s address around 11am to be taken with her, but when she arrived Larkin was packing white powder in snapbacks.

“Mortin asked her if they could go, but Larkin insisted she had to pack everything before she could go.

Pictured is Courtney Larkin

Larkin had set up her own drug hotline (Image: Cavendish Press)

“She was shocked by what she saw but started helping her friend pack the drugs.”

Mortin was only at her friend’s house for about an hour before police searched the address.

In addition to the bag of cocaine, officers also found a scale, razor blades, and snap bags.

The court heard there was a total of 1.185kg of crack cocaine on the property, which would equate to £123,187 if bagged and sold at street price.

Ms Crangle said: “Mortin was unaware of the bag in the corner of the room.

The picture shows drugs confiscated by the police

A total of 1.185kg of crack cocaine was found on the property (Image: Cavendish Press)

“Both were arrested and taken to Ashton Police Station where they made no comment during the interview.

“Both also had their mobile phones confiscated but refused to give the PIN numbers to the police.

“Officers were later able to pick into the phones and discovered that Larkin had operated a drug line from April 8 to May 6.

“This included delivering and selling drugs, using a vehicle to deliver drugs and arranging for other people to sell drugs.”

The court was told Larkin “just managed to stay afloat” and due to mental health issues she turned to dealing cocaine.

Pictured is Ellie Mortin

Mortin “naive” helped her friend pack the drugs (Image: Cavendish Press)

Clare Brocklebank, representing Larkin, said: “She just reconnected with her nine-year-old son and is trying to clean up her act.

“Pending her sentencing, she moved away from her Stalybridge address and into her father’s home, who has been very supportive. She’s been through a tough time.

“Without going into too much detail, her mother struggled with similar issues. She has been in several abusive relationships and had children when she was clearly not ready.

Betsy Hindle, who defended Morton, said her client is “suggestive and struggles to make her own decisions,” adding that she “naively” got involved in helping her friend bag the drugs.

She currently works a few hours a week as a part-time cleaner while the rest of her time is spent looking after her two-year-old daughter.

The picture shows drugs confiscated by the police

Detectives described the hail as “an evidence haven” (Image: Cavendish Press)

The court heard that Morton splits care responsibilities with her child’s father and her parents.

“Her mum is an NHS nurse and her dad is a firefighter,” Ms Hindle said.

“She has told me that if she is placed in custody, one of her parents will have to quit their job to take care of the child.

“Your daughter is at a crucial time in her development and being separated from her mother would undoubtedly impact her life now.”

Larkin was sentenced to four years and 11 months behind bars after pleading guilty to having cocaine with intent to supply it.

Meanwhile, Mortin admitted to similar allegations but walked away with a two-year, 20-month sentence after claiming she had no “intended to be involved in the racket.”

She must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 40 days of rehabilitation, and be fitted with an electronic curfew tag that prevents her from leaving the house between 8pm and 7am.

After the case, Greater Manchester Police Detective Constable Rick McIvor said: “To break down the door and find Larkin sitting surrounded by crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia and bagging it to sell to drug users was evidence heaven.

“Though she remained silent throughout the interview, she ultimately had no choice but to admit her involvement in the drug supply and face the consequences.”

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Justin Scacco

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