Council sweeper jailed for cocaine smuggling

1.78 Kilos of cocaine were recovered at Gatwick Airport Photo: Sussex Police

A group of men including one from Hackney have been jailed for a total of 22 years for attempting to smuggle high purity cocaine worth £160,000 through Gatwick Airport.

Daniel Neville, 38, of Frampton Park Road in Hackney, John Joseph, 37, from St Lucia and Savia Mark Layne, 30, from  Barbados, were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court today.

Joseph was stopped by Border Force officers at the airport’s South Terminal on April 16 2011 after arriving on a flight from St Lucia. His baggage was searched and 1.78 kilos of cocaine were found in the side compartment.

Evidence found in the bag showed he was due to be met by Neville, who worked as a street sweeper for Hackney Council. An announcement was made for Neville to meet Joseph at the information desk, which he did and he was then questioned by officers.

Another man, who turned out to be Layne, was seen walking into the toilets holding a piece of brown card. Officers spoke to him when he returned a few minutes later without it and then found the card, bearing the name John Joseph, hidden behind a toilet cistern.

All three initially pleaded not guilty and a trial started at Croydon Crown Court on 16 May. Neville changed his plea to guilty on the first day of the trial and the other two were convicted on 23 May following an eight day trial.

Joseph was jailed for six and a half years, Layne for nine years and Daniel Neville for  seven and a half years

Peter Avery, of Border Force said: “Although Layne tried to cover up the tracks of this conspiracy our officers were always one step ahead.

“This smuggling attempt shows the lengths criminals are prepared to go to in their attempts to transport drugs around the world.

“We are determined to prevent this terrible trade which can have such a destructive impact on the lives of so many.”

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to drug smuggling can call the smuggling hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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