A British drug dealer tried to use poker as a cover story for carrying large amounts of cash after being stopped by police. A court subsequently convicted Ashley Locker of possessing cocaine with intent to supply, and sentenced him to 26 months in jail.
Police stopped 29-year-old Locker in November 2019 after the police’s automatic number plate recognition technology flagged Locker’s cars to the officers. Police had already linked Locker to a drug-dealing operation.
Officers searched Locker and discovered £1,500 ($2,100) in cash. A search of Locker’s vehicle turned up an additional £923 ($1,280) in cash. Locker told the police officers he was a poker player, and that the large sum of cash was to buy into a poker game. His story may have washed had police not also found six snap bags of cocaine in Locker’s car. A subsequent search of Locker’s home turned up 55g of cocaine worth £7,500 ($10,390), empty snap bags, and a list of drug dealing contacts.
His first recorded a live poker tournament cash in February 2013 when he finished third in a €165 No-Limit Turbo event at the now-defunct UKIPT Cork, a result that netted the Scarborough man €1,480 ($1,986). A handful of three-figure scores followed before Locker won £13,335 ($22,156) for a fourth-place finish in a £440 buy-in tournament in March 2014. Following his Main Event cash in July 2018, Locker cashed in five more live events in the 15-months , with those cashes adding up to $10,479.
Locker was arrested and charged with possessing cocaine with an intent to supply, a crime that can carry a 16-year jail sentence. Locker found himself in the dock of York Crown Court earlier this month where he pleaded guilty as charged.
His solicitor, Anna Bond, had asked the judge for a lenient sentence, citing Locker had developed a gambling problem, and only turned to the drugs trade to pay his gambling-related debts.
The court heard how Locker first discovered poker when he was 18-years-old, but grew more interested in the game while recuperating from knee surgery eight years later. Bond claimed Locker was a “normal family man” who became addicted to gambling.
“It was an addiction that crept up very slowly and before he knew it, he started dealing drugs and probably made the worst mistake of his life.”
Judge Sean Morris was unfazed by the story and said Locker knew exactly what he was doing when he turned to drug dealing. Handing down a 26-month sentence, half of which will be spent behind bars, Judge Morris said, “You had a good lifestyle, you had a nice career, and you got – inevitably, as gamblers do – into debt, and you made a lifestyle choice to become a drug dealer in Class A drugs where big money can be made. You chose to get rich quick. Making money out of drugs is evil.”