Drug smug­gling sen­tences slashed

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

CRIM­I­NALS, in­clud­ing a man from Iver, who were handed sen­tences to­talling more than 70 years for plots in­volv­ing a vast amount of smug­gled co­caine have had their terms slashed on ap­peal.

The group was jailed in March last year af­ter police in­ter­cepted £11 mil­lion worth of co­caine, which had been smug­gled into the UK from Mex­ico City in 2013.

The con­spir­acy in­volved cor­rupt Bri­tish Air­ways staff, who helped the crim­i­nals by­pass se­cu­rity ar­range­ments at Heathrow.

Cen­trally in­volved Harvin­der Sanghera, 34, Houn­slow, and Savdeep Singh Atkar, 34, of Lodge Lane, Grays, ad­mit­ted con­spir­acy to im­port drugs.

Be­low them in the hi­er­ar­chy, David Brown, 52, of Steve­nage, and Stephen O’Meara, 32, of Che­quers Lane, Iver, ad­mit­ted a plot to sup­ply.

Sanghera got 30 years and Atkar 21 years, while Brown and for­mer pro­fes­sional boxer O’Meara re­ceived 13-year terms at South­wark Crown Court.

They ap­pealed last week and, af­ter tak­ing time to con­sider the case, top judges re­turned to court to slash the men’s sen­tences.

“This was a very se­ri­ous con­spir­acy in­volv­ing – in the cases of Sanghera and Atkar – nearly 40kg of high pu­rity co­caine, a rel­a­tively so­phis­ti­cated in­ter­na­tional smug­gling op­er­a­tion ex­tend­ing over sev­eral months, and the cor­rup­tion of air­port staff,” said Lord Jus­tice Bean.

“We agree with all the judge’s ob­ser­va­tions about the ag­gra­vat­ing fea­tures of the case. Nev­er­the­less, we have come to the con­clu­sion each of their sen­tences should be re­duced.”

Sanghera’s term was cut to 26 years, Atkar’s to 19 years and Brown and O’Meara’s sen­tences re­duced to 11 years at the Court of Ap­peal.

Giv­ing judg­ment, Lord Jus­tice Bean, sit­ting with Mr Jus­tice Sweeney and Judge David Grif­fith-Jones, out­lined the meth­ods the gang had used.

Drugs had been dis­guised as in­nocu­ous pack­ages and flown on Bri­tish Air­ways flights from Mex­ico City to Heathrow.

Once there, they were spir­ited past se­cu­rity to ware­houses, from which couri­ers col­lected them for cutting and on­ward distri­bu­tion.

Two police op­er­a­tions in 2013 re­sulted in the seizure of 40kg of co­caine, with a whole­sale value of £2m and street value of £11m.

Sanghera and Atkar were said to be lead­ing par­tic­i­pants in the smug­gling plot, with Sanghera above Atkar.

Sanghera had also ad­mit­ted in­volve­ment with 100 rounds of smug­gled 9mm am­mu­ni­tion which was seized by police.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.