11 April 2011
Three men from Thamesmead have been jailed for a total of 41 years following the seizure of 20 kgs of high purity cocaine by our officers at Heathrow Airport.
Josefaphat Nnameka Okpala and Chigozie Emmanuel Nwaigwu both aged 28, and Thomas Chibuzor Nwosu aged 23 were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday 4 April after being found guilty of importing the drugs, which had an estimated street value of £3.6 million.
The drugs were discovered by officers on 27 March 2010, hidden inside sachets of seasoning that had been imported in a freight consignment from Lagos, Nigeria.
The investigation was then picked up by officers from the Middle Market Drugs Partnership (MMDP), a team of officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, Serious Organised Crime Agency and City of London which aims to disrupt drug dealing in London and surrounding areas.
They mounted a surveillance operation and followed the consignment to an address in Erith in south east London, where the defendants were observed unloading the goods and arrested.
Peter Avery, assistant director, criminal and financial investigation directorate, UK Border Agency said:
'This was clearly a sophisticated operation, with the ability to transport large amounts of class A drugs across international borders.
'I hope the sentences handed out today show that we, and our law enforcement colleagues, are serious about tackling the organised crime groups responsible for bringing illegal drugs into Britain.'
Detective Constable Katie May, Middle Market Drugs Partnership said:
'The concealment techniques used by this organised criminal network shows the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid detection.
'However, the vigilance and co-operation of the UK Border Agency together with MMDP has ensured that this network is no longer able to traffic harmful class A drugs into London.'