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Cheshire beautician jailed for car-boot cocaine haul

Left: Stephanie Nelson, 30. Right: John Markham, 53. Credit: NCA

A woman from Cheshire has been jailed for ten years after 15 kilos of high-purity cocaine worth £1.5 million was found in the boot of her car.

Stephanie Nelson, aged 30, who owned a cosmetics company and lived in a luxury house in Wilmslow, posted dozens of pictures on Instagram showing her enjoying exotic holidays, staying in expensive hotels and posing on yachts around the globe.

A magnetised purpose-built hide in the floor of Nelson's boot. Credit: NCA
15 kilos of high-purity cocaine worth £1.5 million was found in the boot of Nelson's car. Credit: NCA

As part of a National Crime Agency investigation, officers established it was not only beauty treatments that were funding her lifestyle.

On 10 June this year, Nelson was observed at The Yeoman pub in Bearsted, Kent, where she met John Markham, aged 53, from Enfield, who was waiting in a white van and handed over two black holdalls to her.

Nelson drove off and was stopped a short time later in the Dartford Tunnel when the NCA discovered the drugs in a magnetised purpose-built hide in the floor of the boot.

Markham was also jailed for ten years when they both appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday June 11 and pleaded guilty.

Magnetised purpose-built hide in the floor of Nelson's boot. Credit: NCA

Adam Warnock, NCA Branch Commander, said:

Drug trafficking was Nelson’s passport to a high-rolling lifestyle – an expensive house in Cheshire and exotic holidays all over the world – but it was very high risk and now she is behind bars. We believe the drugs run we observed was her sixth one this year.

Our work does not stop here though as we will seek to confiscate assets belonging to Nelson and her criminal associate Markham to ensure they no longer benefit from their criminality. The investigation into the wider drug trafficking network is also ongoing.

Cocaine is an attractive drug for organised criminals because of the potential profits, but we know the groups active in drug distribution are also often involved in street violence, intimidation and exploitation. This is why we take this type of activity so seriously, and we are determined to do all we can to disrupt it.

– National Crime Agency