LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – A highly organised criminal network that imported £8million cocaine due for London’s streets has today been sentenced to a total of 68 yrs at Inner London CC.
Alan THAME (19.12.43 – 63 ys) retired of Acacia Drive, Southend on Sea was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and was sentenced to 18 years.
Paul MARSH (20/9/65 – 41 ys) u/e of Gladwins, Basildon, Essex was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and was sentenced to 18 years.
Michael ARBER (1.3.55 – 52 ys) u/e of Star Lane, Ash, Surrey was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and was sentenced to 18 years.
Stephen John COLEMAN (5.3.62 – 45 ys) a truck driver of Dalmatia Rd, Southend on Sea, Essex was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and was sentenced to 14 years.
The gang were arrested on Thursday 3 August 2006 as a result of a proactive, intelligence led operation by officers from the Met’s Projects Team.
Officers watched the men in the days leading up to the arrest. Coleman was observed leaving the country in his lorry via the Chunnel Tunnel on the 30 July and then returning the next day on a ferry.
On the 1 August, following his return, Coleman met with Thame in a service station on the M20 where they exchanged a package. Coleman took the package and drove to the Channel Tunnel.
This was later confirmed as containing cash.
He returned on the 3 August – repeating the pattern of coming back on the ferry. Upon his return just after midnight there was substantial activity amongst the remaining conspirators.
Marsh and Aber were seen to drive past Coleman’s lorry after it pulled up on Blackthorne Road, Colnbrook at 02.45.
After completing what they believed to be a comprehensive anti-surveillance check, a call was made to arrange a rendez-vous with Coleman and make the exchange.
Another man then drove past in a separate van and Coleman passed three large holdalls down to him. The white van the man arrived in attempted to drive away but officers stopped and arrested them.
Approximately 50kilos of cocaine, which has a street value of £8 million, was in 50 individual packages. After testing the cocaine it was found to be over 70% pure.
After Coleman was arrested and asked whether he understood, he said, “Yeah, cos I’ve just given that guy three bags of drugs.”
Marsh and Arber managed to drive away but were arrested shortly after on the M4.
Thame was subsequently arrested at his home address in Southend on Sea. It is believed he acted as the primary organiser for the network.
Detective Chief Inspector Grant Johnson, from the Projects Team, said:
“These four men were involved in a significant operation to import and supply dealers of cocaine across London. The drugs we seized have a street value in the region of £8 million.
“This operation has taken out the whole of this network and is part of our continued drive to rid London of the criminal networks that cause significant harm to communities and crime levels.
“The Projects Team will continue to proactively target networks like these to make it ever harder for them to operate.”
+ Aaron CHURCH (23.4.73 – 34 ys) a forklift driver of Handley Green,
Laindon, Essex was found not guilty on Thursday 7 July 2007.
The jury were unable to return a verdict regarding Benjamin Rocky SWANSON
(26.4.77 – 30 ys) a courier of Plough Rd, London SW11.
We understand a retrial will be sought in relation to him.