P&O ferry workers guilty of drug smuggling operation

Mark Quilliam, Edward Tron, Susan Tron Image copyright Hull News & Pictures
Image caption Mark Quilliam (left), Edward Tron and Susan Tron had all denied the charges against them

Two former P&O workers have been convicted of running a drug smuggling operation onboard a North Sea ferry.

Edward Tron, 51, from Gateshead, and Mark Quilliam, 55, from Liverpool, were both found guilty at Hull Crown Court of conspiracy to import cocaine.

Tron's wife, Susan, 54, was convicted of money laundering.

All three had denied the offences but were convicted following an 11 day trial. They will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Tron, of Carr Hill Road, Gateshead, and Quilliam, of Gladica Close, Liverpool, were warned by Judge Simon Jack that they faced long prison terms.

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The men had used their positions, Tron as a steward and Quilliam as a chef, to smuggle cocaine into Hull from Rotterdam, the court had previously heard.

It was claimed they had made up to £60,000 per trip over a six-year-period.

The Tron's had deposited more than £138,000 in their own bank accounts but the couple had been unable to explain where the money came from.

'Guns for hire'

The smuggling enterprise was discovered after a crewmate was arrested with a large amount of cash and was later jailed for money laundering.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) then mounted an undercover operation in collaboration with Dutch police.

An officer was placed on the ferry and recorded conversations in which the prosecution said Mr Tron admitted importing drugs.

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Media captionEdward Tron was arrested on a North Sea ferry

In a police interview, Tron claimed he had made up a fantasy and everything he had told the undercover officer was not true.

Speaking after the convictions, Mick Maloney, from the NCA, said: "Eddie Tron and Mark Quilliam worked as 'guns for hire', selling their services to organised crime groups to help them get their commodity into the UK.

"Theirs was an important link in the chain which connects ruthless cocaine manufacturers in South America with street gangs involved in violence and exploitation on the streets of the UK."

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