Man convicted for cocaine dealing and 'homemade hand grenade' after arrest at hotel near Welwyn
PUBLISHED: 13:12 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:12 19 December 2019
A Northampton man pleaded guilty after he was found with cocaine and a homemade hand grenade at a hotel near Welwyn Garden City.
Anthony Stevens, of Billing Aquadrome, was jailed at St Albans Crown Court after pleading guilty to firearms, explosives, and drug and money laundering offences.
In June 2018, Stevens was arrested after staff at Brocket Hall hotel, on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City, alerted police to suspected drug use by guests.
His hotel room was searched and a large sum of cash, cocaine and a homemade hand grenade were found.
The army's explosives ordnance disposal team deemed it an improvised explosive device (IED), which was subsequently made safe and detonated with a controlled explosion. Stevens' mobile also contained footage of another IED he exploded.
The Northampton man also parked a stolen motorbike with false number plates in the hotel car park.
Stevens was then released under investigation but was re-arrested following a warrant conducted at a caravan he owned at the Billing Aquadrome campsite on April 4 2019.
He was found to have rifle ammunition and a loaded Glock 19 pistol, as well as a large amount of designer clothes during a police search - along with another stolen motorcycle with false number plates outside the caravan.
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Stevens, 39, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Wednesday, December 17 and will be subject to a five year Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) upon his release from prison.
His prison sentence is indeterminate, which means two thirds must be served before he will be considered for release by the parole board due to the dangerous nature of his crimes.
Detective Inspector James Luxon from Hertfordshire Constabulary's serious and organised crime team said: "This has been a very complicated and far reaching investigation which has disrupted the organised crime and drugs networks operating in Hertfordshire.
"Stevens is a dangerous individual who has used firearms and explosives to enforce his grip on these networks, spreading fear and intimidation. Through intelligence and some excellent investigative work we have brought someone who is a serious threat to the local community to justice.
"Operation Relentless is Hertfordshire Constabulary's response to the on-going threat from organised criminal gangs.
"These groups pose a threat to local communities and the force is committed to identifying and relentlessly pursuing individuals and networks involved in serious and organised crime.
"As part of this work, we depend on information from members of the community to help us crack down on drug-related crime. Any information you can provide, no matter how small it may seem, could help us to identify and apprehend drug dealers."
Suspected drugs use can be reported via the police non-emergency number 101. If a crime is in progress, always dial 999.
You can also use the Constabulary's online reporting form at herts.police.uk/report.