Police ask for Northampton bar owned by drug dealer to be closed

Ice Lounge
Ice Lounge

A bar in Northampton, owned by a convicted drug dealer who has been sentenced to 20 years in jail, could be closed down after Northamptonshire Police applied for a licence review.

A licensing hearing will take place at The Guildhall tomorrow when the police will put forward evidence that alleges Ice Lounge, in Bridge Street, has been used to hide the proceeds of a large scale cocaine dealing operation.

Papers to be presented at the hearing state that Joseph O’Neill, who was jailed in February after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, bought Ice Lounge in September 2011.

It is alleged that the business was being used to ‘launder’ the proceeds of wholesale cocaine trafficking.

Leicester Crown Court was told that police surveillance had monitored 150 courier runs, delivering an estimated 25 kilograms of high purity cocaine, worth an estimated £1.25 million.

In the papers for the licence review hearing, it is stated that even allowing for minimal wages and defaults on many debts incurred in the building work, there was a shortfall of £55,000 upon the opening of the bar.

The papers state: “The police assert that O’Neill’s large profits from drug trafficking, provided him and his associates with a large wage income prior to the purchase of the bar; the only plausible explanation is that the profits from the drug supply operation were used to purchase and refurbish the bar initially.”

Police claim that O’Neill also had a “lavish lifestyle” and was spending £3,000 per calendar month, which allegedly included rental of a modern flat, maintenance of his estranged wife’s five bedroomed property and an un-let house in Burton Latimer, along with costs of several high-powered vehicles.

The papers also state that John Monteith and Michael Wilson, who had links to Ice Lounge, had no declared income but maintained an £880 per month spend on hire cars.