A Lewisham man is among four men jailed today for smuggling drugs worth £700,000 into the UK.
David Rowe, 53, of Overcliff Road, Lewisham, used contacts in Ghana to help facilitate the import.
His fellow criminals included David Fox, 65, of Brighton, a baggage handler at Gatwick Airport who used the transfer shed of Gatwick airport to remove the drugs from suitcases and smuggle them out in his own belongings.
Stephen Chambers, 45, of Brighton, was caught after a rucksack containing £500,000 worth cocaine was sent to a different part of the airport and he could not get hold of it. Border Force officers seized the drugs.
A National Crime Agency spokesman said: “Both men pleaded guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence. Fox had gone into work on his day off in the hope of retrieving the drugs, and phone evidence showed the men had spoken the night before. Incriminating baggage labels were found at the home address of Fox and in a container rented by Chambers in Lancing, Sussex.”
Gordon Wilkie, 40, also Brighton, was caught unloading the container.
Fox, currently serving 10 years sentence for previous drugs convictions, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court to a further four years to be served consecutively. Chambers was sentenced to 12 years, Rowe to three-and-a-half years and Wilkie to 30 months.
Brendan Foreman, the NCA’s regional head of investigations, said: “These men thought they could operate under the law enforcement radar and profit from their criminal activities – like many before them, they were wrong. One of them cynically abused his trusted position as an airport worker to import large amounts of class A drugs.”