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Two jailed after attempt to smuggle 8.5kgs of cocaine through Gatwick

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK”, says Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South.

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The drugs, which had been wrapped in plastic and hidden inside boxes marked ‘rum’, weighed approximately 8.5kgs.

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.

More news: Crawley’s Community Wardens earn RSPCA award

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.

62-year-old Grantley Thompson.

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.

30-year-old Jamal Walcott.

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

Crime

Crawley man jailed for over 4 years after racist and homophobic abuse at Brighton Pride revellers

A man who hurled racist and homophobic abuse at revellers heading to Brighton Pride has been jailed for more than four years.

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Ryan Brown was heading to Pride himself when he threatened to ‘knock a woman out’ and shouted racist and homophobic terms at train passengers.

The incident happened shortly after 5pm on Saturday 5 August 2017.

The 31-year-old from Hastings Road in Crawley, West Sussex, resisted arrest at Brighton and had to be restrained by BTP officers.

In his pocket he had a large number of small bags containing MDMA.

He was found guilty of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and causing fear of violence through racially charged and homophobic language.

Brown was also sentenced at the same time for a separate matter which included affray, criminal damage, and assault with intent to resist arrest which he pleaded guilty to in December 2018.

He was jailed for four years and six months at Hove Crown Court on Thursday 10 January.

British Transport Police DC Imogen Sweeney said:

“I would like to thank the victim in this case. She was subjected to a frightening ordeal by Brown, receiving homophobic abuse and witnessing racist abuse. 

“She has remained determined to pursue justice throughout this investigation and I have nothing but admiration and praise for her strength.

“Brighton Pride celebrates diversity and equality, values that Brown clearly needs education in. I believe this sentence reflects the seriousness and particularly nasty nature of his offending on that day.”

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