KATIE Price’s boyfriend Carl Woods is close friends with a drugs-gang leader who spent years in prison for supplying class A drugs.
The gang of eight, who operated from a home in Stansted, Essex, were sentenced to a total of 46 years behind bars after police found 1.5kg of 85 per-cent purity cocaine along with cutting agents and scales used by dealers.
Carl, who has been dating Katie for seven weeks, posted a photo with gang ringleader Bradley Stantiford at a bar in Essex on his Instagram shortly before lockdown.
The 44-year-old, known as “The Beast”, smuggled huge quantities of cocaine through Stansted Airport.
Stantiford is believed to have been released from prison at the start of this year having served around half of his right year sentence.
A source told The Sun: “Carl and Brad have known each other for a long time and are close pals.
“When Brad got out he had a lot of catching up to do with his mates.”
Brad has told friends he is determined to stay on the straight and the narrow.
“What happened is the past,” the source said. “Brad is keeping his head down and his nose clean.”
When contacted by The Sun Online, Katie’s rep said: “Miss Price’s current relationship with Mr Woods and his previous acquaintances is of no concern nor holds relevance to her personally.”
Posting a snap of them together in February, former Love Island contestant Carl, 31, said: “Just a couple friends having a drink.
“Been a long time Mr Stantiford.”
Stantiford’s history of violence and his 22-stone bulk earned him the nickname “The Beast”.
At his trial, Judge Patricia Lynch QC said that Stantiford operated a cocaine distribution network that on a commercial scale and allowed others to run their own subordinate supply networks.
She said he had access to a source of high quality cocaine which provided substantial financial gain and jailed him for eight years.
In 2012, Stantiford was given an interim violent offender order that banned him from entering pubs and clubs in four counties in England.
He was also handed a five-year prison sentence for causing grievous bodily harm.
Stantiford subsequently became the subject of a police manhunt after he broke the terms of his day release from prison.
He was recaptured at a property in the Hertfordshire village of Nazeing.
Another post on Carl’s account, dated 27 July 2016 and prior to his Love Island fame, he alluded to drug dealers being treated overly harshly by the courts.
It included a graphic produced by the hacking group Anonymous that said: “Drug dealers get more time than child molesters.
“People ask for drugs, who the f#ck asks to be raped?”
Woods commented: “Couldn’t of put it better myself. World needs a reality check.”
Katie, 40, went public with her relationship with Carl last month in a post to her 2.3 million followers on Instagram.
She turned her life around after a stint in The Priory last year where she was recovering from depression after using cocaine every week for six months.
Carl has been caring for Katie since she broke both feet in Turkey after jumping off a wall at a theme park.
Woods took the opportunity abroad to visit a dental centre and have a set of veneers fitted.
Katie has since vowed to “spend the rest of her life” with Carl and told pals he’s “the one.”