Two men from Barbados are facing a total of 13 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to smuggle an estimated 8.5kgs of cocaine into the UK.
On 1 September, Border Force officers stopped 62-year-old Grantley Herbert Thompson, and 30-year-old Jamal Ricardo Walcott, in the customs channels at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal. Both had arrived on a flight from Barbados.
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During a search of their baggage officers discovered a white powder, wrapped in green plastic, and hidden inside boxes marked rum. The powder was subsequently tested and gave a positive reaction to the field test for cocaine. The cocaine had an estimated street value of £535,000.
Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South said:
“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK and I commend the Border Force officers whose work ensured that Thompson and Walcott are now behind bars.
“Illegal drugs have a significant impact on our society, being the root cause behind countless burglaries, thefts and robberies. They are also used as a commodity by organised criminals linked to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable.
“We continue to work with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice.”
The case was referred to the NCA and Thompson and Walcott were charged with importation of a class A drug.
On Thursday, 11 October the pair appeared at Croydon Crown Court where they admitted the smuggling attempt. Both were sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment immediately.
The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was launched in April, aims to combat the devastating impact drugs have on levels of serious violence.
It also highlights a strong link between drugs and serious violence and the related harm and exploitation from county lines. The Government has set out the action it will take to tackle this violent and exploitative criminal activity. The action of Border Force to stop drugs before they get into the country forms a key part of this work.
Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.
Nationally, they use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling
Langley Green man sent to prison after more than £13k drugs found in his home
A Crawley man found with nearly £13,500 worth of drugs in his home has been given a prison sentence.
Police conducted a warrant at the address of Matthew Stevens in Dobson Road, Crawley, after reports from members of the public regarding suspicious behaviour in the area was reported.
During the search on 15 July 2016, officers found a quantity of cocaine, spice and drug paraphernalia. Stevens, 44, was then arrested.
He was released under investigation and the Crawley Investigation team began a long and complex analysis of items seized from the address.
Stevens was charged in May 2017 and pleaded not guilty to possession with intent to supply class A (cocaine), possession of a class B and possession with intent to supply a psychoactive substance (spice).
He stood trial at Hove Crown Court and on Friday 2 November Stevens was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to a total of four years.
Detective Constable Mark Buckley said:
“Sussex Police work tirelessly to stop the supply of illegal drugs within our community.
“The presiding Judge recognised the severity of Stevens’ actions and imposed a sentence representing that.
“We are conscientiously robustly tackling drug issues in Crawley and urge anyone who notices any suspicious behaviour to report it to us without delay.
“Let’s work together to make Crawley a safe place. No one knows their neighbourhoods better than residents themselves, so please get in touch if something seems out of place.”