Nottingham

Gang jailed after 200m euro suitcase cocaine haul

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Media captionThe seizure was one of the biggest ever to be made on French territory

Eight associates of alleged international drug trafficker Robert Dawes have been jailed after a huge cocaine haul was found on a flight.

The 1.3 tonnes of cocaine was found packed inside 31 suitcases in September 2013 and was described as the biggest drugs haul ever made in the Paris area.

The drugs were said to have a street value in France of 200m euros (£169m).

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The drugs were taken to France in suitcases on board an Air France flight from Caracas

It led to the arrest of Mr Dawes, who is originally from Nottinghamshire and is currently awaiting trial in France.

The investigation also led to the prosecution of the eight associates, who were all jailed at Nottingham Crown Court.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption William Goldhawk, Jermaine Hammond, Oliver Junior, Masued Khalil (top left to right), Jamie Parlor, Shaun Porteous, Kane Price and Mark Thone (bottom left to right) were all jailed at Nottingham Crown Court
  • William Goldhawk, 33, of, Nottingham, was sentenced to five and a half years after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply heroin and money laundering.
  • Nottingham-based Jermaine Hammond, 30, and Shaun Porteous, 48, each pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply. Hammond was jailed for four years and eight months while Porteous was sentenced to 13 years and four months.
  • Jamie Parlor, 28, of Bramcote, Nottingham, was jailed for five years being found guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply.
  • Oliver Junior, 36, of Nottingham, was jailed for eight and a half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply MDMA and possession with intent to supply amphetamine.
  • Mark Thone, 51, of Nottingham, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply amphetamine and was sentenced to three years.
  • Kane Price, 28 of Nottingham, who had pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply MDMA, was jailed for three and a half years.
  • Birmingham-based Masued Khalil, 50, was sentenced to five years and four months after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply MDMA and possessing cannabis.
Image copyright Guardia Civil
Image caption Robert Dawes, originally from Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, was arrested in Spain
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Media captionRobert Dawes lived a 'life of luxury', Spanish police said

The drugs were seized at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on 11 September 2013, after being brought transported on board an Air France flight from Caracas, Venezuela.

The National Crime Agency began investigating with international law enforcement agencies to identify the group behind the shipment, suspecting it had been arranged by Mr Dawes.

Spanish police arrested Mr Dawes at his villa in Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol in November 2015, accusing him of running Europe's "largest criminal organisation dedicated to drug trafficking, money laundering and murder".

Image caption Kane Price (right) was observed receiving a kilo of MDMA from Oliver Junior in June 2015
Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption More than 26kg of amphetamine was found in a freezer at Mark Thones' home in Nottinghamshire

Kane Price had been arrested straight after the airport drugs seizure, then released on bail, but the National Crime Agency monitored him and observed him receiving a kilo of MDMA from Oliver Junior on 11 June 2015.

The other associates were observed being involved in drug and cash exchanges during other surveillance operations.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption When officers arrested Shaun Porteous they found 12kg of heroin in his car
Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Officers recovered an industrial pill press from a garage in Brooke Avenue in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, which was under the control of Junior

Rob Hickinbottom, the National Crime Agency's regional commander for the Midlands, said the investigation was continuing and further arrests and prosecutions wee planned.

"We have successfully targeted his (Robert Dawes') criminal associates in the UK involved in drug trafficking and money laundering but our work does not stop here," he said.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Officers seized 11kg of MDMA during the investigation

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