Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sentences Handed Down For Major Drugs Smuggling Ring

Codgers Collared for Concealing Cannabis in Chickens
Shipping News Feature

UK – The members of a smuggling ring, which operated under the guise of a legitimate freight transport operation, and staffed by a group of geriatric villains, were brought to book today as they received sentences totalling almost forty years.

Haulage company boss Derek Mercer, 70, of South Norwood, South-East London was jailed for eight years, Wattie Soutter, 68, of Rotherhithe, South-East London, received nine-and-a-half years, driver John Rowe,70, of Bethnal Green, East London and Patrick Maloney, 54, of Southwark, South-East London were jailed for seven years each and Russ O'Cuneff, 51, of Poplar, East London got six years.

As detailed in the Handy Shipping Guide previously the gang stashed the drugs in frozen chicken carcasses loaded in Holland. The police tracked the gang for several months before swooping, and nearly blowing the whole operation when one officer apparently turned on his siren just prior to the raid which found the warehouse, now devoid of personnel, strewn with almost one and a half tonnes of cannabis, all carefully labelled with colour coded “Post It” notes.

More raids on the criminals vehicles revealed a further half a tonne of the drug including the notorious “skunk” form. Street value of the hauls was put at around £5.25 million but estimates of what the gang actually transferred into the UK whilst they were operating, thirteen such trips are thought to have occurred, run as high as £60 million.

The Judge made no concession to the defendants’ ages saying, 'It can fairly be said the older someone gets the less excuse they have for getting involved in crime, particularly when it was planned and organised.

'When you got involved in this you knew full well what the consequences would be if caught - a lengthy spell of imprisonment in your twilight years,

'I suspect that at the age you are there is a bit of a devil-may-care attitude towards offending.'

(No apologies for using that picture again. Ed.)