Drug smugglers who successfully plotted to fly cocaine into UK jailed
A gang of drug smugglers who successfully plotted to fly cocaine with an estimated street value of over £2.5million into the UK have been jailed following a prosecution brought by the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division.
Andrew Barrett (16 years), Michael Mealing (12-and-a-half years) and Jonathan Hart (10 years, nine months) were all jailed at the Old Bailey this afternoon.
Mealing and Hart were arrested with more than 32kg of cocaine on 23 June 2016. They collected these drugs from a field near Faversham in Kent where they had been dropped by a light aircraft.
Later the same day Barrett was arrested while driving a white van containing a separate stash of drugs including approximately 18kg of cocaine, 15kg of cannabis and 1kg of MDMA.
The combined wholesale value of the drugs found in the van was over £650,000, but had these drugs reached the streets the estimated value was more than £1.5million.
Adrian Flasher, Specialist Prosecutor from the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division, said:
"The prosecution demonstrated how these organised criminals plotted to fly drugs into the country.
"The CPS worked with investigators from an early stage, advising on the strength and admissibility of the evidence and lines of enquiry. Prosecutors and investigators working together have ensured this criminal enterprise was thwarted and justice has been served."
All three men pleaded guilty to importing cocaine. Barrett also pleaded guilty to possessing drugs with intent to supply and money laundering.
The prosecution followed an investigation by the National Crime Agency.
Notes to Editors
- The CPS is committed to prosecuting cases to the highest standards and routinely deploys its own lawyers to deliver high-quality in-house advocacy. In this case in-house CPS counsel, Heidi Stonecliffe, became part of the prosecution team at an early stage and assisted with detailed advice, driving the case forward with the reviewing lawyer, in addition to presenting the case to the court.
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