Thursday, September 3, 2009

When Hauliers Go Bad

Forwarder in Court for Massive Drug Operation
Shipping News Feature

UK – An Essex-based haulier is up in court on charges of bringing a large quantity of cannabis into the UK. Derek Mercer, 70, is accused of using his haulage and warehousing firm in Grays to smuggle at least 1.8 tonnes of the drug into the country.

Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday that Mercer, with six other men, shipped the narcotic into Britain from the Netherlands disguised as frozen chicken. The cannabis was collected from a bonded meat warehouse in Bury St. Edmunds and moved to Mercer’s warehouse before being shipped “very quickly” to customers in an extremely efficient ‘hub and spoke’ operation.

Andrew Marshall, for the prosecution, said the operation was “a significant drug smuggling enterprise” and that the police had been monitoring the gang for six months prior to launching the raid on Mercers warehouse that had netted a haul of 1.4 tonnes in situ, plus another 460kgs in two vehicles.

Mr. Marshall went on to point out that:

“Even this importation alone ranks as a major one, but when you look back and see how many have gone in previously you can see really quite massive quantities of cannabis resin have been brought into the country in this way.”

Mr. Mercer denies knowing that it was drugs that were being imported and claims to have only been involved in the operation for three weeks.