Gang leader who smuggled £5m of cocaine in children's jigsaws jailed for 15 years

The multi-agency crackdown targeted the importation which saw the cocaine transported to the UK from Jamaica, via Belgium and Holland

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The head of a drug smuggling gang, which hid £5 million-worth of cocaine in children’s presents, has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The head of a drug smuggling gang, which hid £5 million-worth of cocaine in children’s presents, has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.

Raheem Bailey, 44, was the ninth member of the international smugglers to be sentenced for his part in the operation which spanned the Caribbean, Europe and the UK.

jigsaw-2.jpg
Gang members disguised the class-A drugs inside children's presents (credit: Metropolitan Police)

Seven of Mr Bailey’s associates have already been sentenced to a total of 82 years, with another receiving a suspended sentence.

One of the accomplices, Greg Stoby, was arrested after a search of his luggage revealed cocaine in a laptop bag and jigsaw box, wrapped in children’s gift paper.

Another accomplice, Shauna-Rae Howell, was also arrested after police discovered one of the packages among others.

Both Ms Howell and Mr Stoby were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment last year at Croydon Crown Court.

The importation of the drugs had been arranged between April and July 2014 to go from the Caribbean to the UK, via Belgium and Holland, although was stopped after a combined effort by police, the Boarder Force and National Crime Agency.

DC Mike Stonehouse from the Metropolitan Police’s Central Task Force said: “This joint operation was lengthy and complex. It has prevented millions of pounds-worth of illegal drugs flooding UK streets, spreading misery in our communities.

“An international and highly organised crime group has also been put behind bars. This illustrates our determination to catch the people at the top of these criminal networks, those managing the smuggling, and those who are physically bringing the drugs into the UK.”