Coke-au-Vin: UK Jails Four on Drug Charges
Authorities in the UK have jailed four members of a gang that smuggled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the country concealed in frozen chickens.
The National Crime Agency said on Friday that the courts had sentenced Thomas Lordan, Mehmet Ali and Francis Sullivan to sentences ranging from ten to 18 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs. A fourth defendant, Emanuel Jella, received a six-year sentence in February.
Prosecutors said that the group had used a front company, Independent Meat Ltd, to smuggle large quantities of cocaine into the country, hidden in the bodies and even the bone marrow of frozen chickens, between May and September of last year.
The gang’s activities first came to the attention of the police when authorities in Kent witnessed Jella and Sullivan exchange a bag containing some 11 kilograms of the drug in June 2019.
Officers arrested Jella at the scene. Sullivan escaped and was later apprehended at his home in September, following the arrest of Ali earlier in August as he unloaded more than 50 kilograms of coke from a truck at an industrial estate in the area.
Lordan fled the country for Turkey shortly after Ali was taken into custody. He was later detained at an airport in Amsterdam by Dutch police in January, before being extradited to face charges in the UK.
Matt McMillan, operations manager for the NCA, said in a statement that Lordan was the brains behind the outfit, providing the operation’s logistic structure with Sullivan and Ali working as his close seconds.
“This seizure of a significant amount of cocaine means it hasn’t ended up on the streets, fuelling violence and exploitation,” he added.
The four defendants pled guilty to all the charges.