Two men were sentenced to imprisonment on Wednesday for trying to smuggle nearly three kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of £250,000 into the United Kingdom.
Daniel Kelly, 43, and Steven Gilhooly, also 43, were sentenced to six and a half years and eight and a half years in prison, respectively, for attempting to smuggle two parcels of a Class A drug into the U.K., according to the Evening Standard.
The men reportedly put the cocaine in tin cans of coconut milk and baked beans in the Caribbean country St. Lucia, and Kelly sent the parcels from a St. Lucian Post Office, according to the outlet. He used a driver’s license with his image but fake personal details.
The Evening Standard reports:
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that on December 20 and 24, 2018, two parcels sent from St Lucia destined for addresses in Charlton and Greenwich in southeast London were seized by customs officials.
Upon forensic examination, authorities discovered 1.95 kilograms of cocaine stashed in one parcel, while 792 grams of cocaine were found in the other, according to the Independent.
The drugs had a street value of £250,000 or approximately $340,000 in U.S. currency.
According to the Evening Standard:
A thorough investigation by Metropolitan Police officers and the National Crime Agency [NCA] revealed that Kelly and Gilhooly had purchased a machine can sealer and blank tin lids, allowing them to reseal tin cans.
On 16 December 2018, both Kelly and Gilhooly had flown from London Gatwick to St Lucia, where on arrival they told officials that they were entering the country for a holiday and it was recorded that they had the can sealer within their luggage.
“On 23 January 2020, Kelly was arrested from prison where he was serving time for a different offence,” a press release from the Metropolitan Police Department states (MPD). On the 9 March 2020, Gilhooly was arrested.”
Detective Inspector Matthew Webb, who works in the MPD’s Specialist Crime teams, spoke to the sentencing in the release.
“This should send a clear and strong message to those intent on penetrating our borders that offences of this nature are taken very seriously and we will leave no stone unturned in bringing them to justice.
“Both men travelled to St. Lucia with the sole purpose of importing Class A drugs back into the United Kingdom. The miserable effect that drugs supply has on our communities is undeniable and inextricably linked to violence within our communities. Both men were willing to take such risk with this offending – thinking they were beyond the reach of the law and hoping to monetise profits. Instead, they now face hefty prison sentences. I hope this provides them the opportunity to reflect on their behaviour and demonstrates that crime doesn’t pay.”
Branch Commander Mark McCormick of the National Crime Agency (NCA) also weighed in on the sentencing.
“These men thought they could circumvent the UK’s border controls by utilising the fast parcel system, but this is a threat we and our law enforcement partners like Border Force and the MPS are alive to,” McCormick said, according to the Evening Standard.
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