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Thursday, 4 August 2011

HAULIER found guilty of a £1.1m drug smuggling plot has been jailed for 11 years.

Customs officers stopped a lorry owned by Daljit Singh Jandu trying to enter the UK through Dover in February 2007.

Inside they found class A drugs including 43kg of amphetamine powder, 19kg of MDMA, and 3,000 tablets hidden in cardboard boxes and a laundry bag.

Jandu, 45, of Wesley Street, Belle Vue, was not the lorry driver, but a jury found him guilty of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition of controlled drugs.

He was given an 11-year sentence at the Central Criminal Court in London on Monday after a retrial.

Malcolm Bragg, UK Border Agency’s criminal and financial investigation assistant director, said: “The sentence handed down should act as a warning to those who attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into this country.

“The seizure of these drugs reflects the robust controls we have in place at the UK border, backed by dedicated criminal investigation teams who are all vital in bringing these criminals to justice.

“Drug use destroys not only the lives of individual users, but also their families and the wider community.”

The drugs were picked up in the Netherlands and the lorry was stopped as it tried to enter Dover’s eastern docks on February 16, 2007.

Jandu was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling on February 26, 2007.

He was originally jailed for 18 years at Canterbury Crown Court in 2008.

Jandu won the right to challenge the conviction in London’s Appeal Court in June 2009

Detectives today revealed how they smashed a £350million cocaine smuggling plot - after spotting a receipt in a waste paper basket.

The find led to the unravelling of an international drug trafficking ring with links to the Albanian mafia and a £10million money-laundering racket.

A tonne of high grade cocaine bound for London was recovered when Scotland Yard detectives and the Spanish navy stopped a ship on the high seas.

The former Canadian coastguard vessel was identified after a £100,000 receipt for ship repairs was found in a waste bin during a drugs raid in Hillingdon in 2009.

Two members of the drugs ring were jailed at Kingston crown court yesterday. Anthony Briggs, 55, was given 12 months for money laundering, possession of a class A drug and possession of CS gas. Rayner Jane Rothery, 46, also received 12 months after admitting money laundering and conspiracy to pervert the court of justice.

The case comes after details were revealed yesterday of a haul of £300million of cocaine found in a pleasure boat in Southampton docks.

Scotland Yard said 14 people in Britain have now been jailed for a total of 77 years in connection with the plot. Spanish authorities arrested 10 people who are all awaiting trial in Spain.

Detectives unpicked an international network stretching from London to Spain, Albania, the Caribbean and Colombia

Four Long Island men have been arrested for their role in what prosecutors call "one of the largest cocaine smuggling operations" in New York


They hid the drugs and cash in secret compartments built into several cars, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

The cars were then loaded onto truck transports, which moved the vehicles back and forth between California to Long Island.

"That's pretty ingenious, a good operation," added Spota. 

Suffolk police ended the cloak and dagger operation last month, seizing 32 kilos of cocaine that had just arrived in two vehicles at a Deer Park motorcycle shop.

More than eight hundred thousand dollars in cash were recovered later, investigators said.

Undercover officers and wiretaps had been used in the eight month investigation, investigators added.

The drug smuggling operation had continued for at least five years, Spota said, with the ring distributing millions of dollars in cocaine from Mexico.

Prosecutors identified the local "kingpin" as Robert Perticone, 30 of North Babylon.

His lawyer said he is innocent of the charges.

"I don't believe my client is a wholesale cocaine dealer," said Perticone's lawyer, Ray Perini.

Neighbors described Perticone as a plumber who lived a lavish lifestyle, with expensive cars, an elaborate home security system and wild backyard parties.

"I just had a feeling all that wasn't coming from just plumbing," said neighbor Steve Quintana, who was so concerned, he wouldn't let his three kids play in the yard adjacent to Perticone's home.

The other suspects have been identified as Richard Occhino, 46 of North Babylon; Theodore Katsanos, 29 of Bay Shore; Jose Tejada, 33 of West Babylon.  All have pleaded not guilty to felony drug charges.  Those charges could be upgraded, prosecutors added.

More arrests are expected.

The alleged "California kingpin," William Wright, 33, of Los Angeles is still on the loose.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Police in Panama have seized more than half a tonne of heroin - one of the biggest ever drug hauls

Police in Panama have seized more than half a tonne of heroin - one of the biggest ever drug hauls in the country's history, officials say.

Officers found hundreds of plastic packages of the drug in a car in the remote Caribbean coastal town of Jobea.

The packages were ready to be shipped to other countries, the country's anti-drugs prosecutor said.

Gangs are increasingly using Central America to traffick drugs from South America to the US and Europe.

Announcing the heroin seizure on Monday, Javier Caraballo, Panama's anti-drugs prosecutor, said the consignment was put at 639kg.

Three people were arrested in the operation, which took place in the province of Colon at the weekend.

Mr Caraballo said another police operation near the capital, Panama City, had netted an estimated 468kg of cocaine.

So far this year, Panamanian officials have seized 22 tonnes of drugs originating in South America and destined for the US and Europe, Panamanian newspaper La Prensa reports.

The UN's latest World Drug Report says that in 2009, drugs seizures in Panama were the third largest in Latin America and the Caribbean, put at 53 tonnes.


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