Air-conditioning units used by drug smugglers
A GANG has been jailed for a total of 16 and a half years for smuggling hundreds of thousands of pounds of drugs into the UK by hiding them in air-conditioning units.
Matthew Feavyour was found guilty in September 2009 for his role in the importation of cannabis resin with an estimated street value of £270,000 hidden in air conditioning units. Andrew Rickard and Gary Moore pleaded guilty at the start of the trial.
Birmingham crown court sentenced the three men on February 4 for their conspiracy to supply the Class B drug cannabis.
Detectives busted the gang's drug smuggling scam in 2009 following a lengthy police operation codenamed Stagnate. Police officers intercepted the consignment smuggled into the UK from the Netherlands on April 2009.
The recovered drugs were concealed in eight boxes containing air conditioning unit access doors, which were specially constructed for the job.
Some 380 'soap bar' blocks weighing 94.8kg in total were recovered.
Moore had ordered the manufacture of air conditioning units with hollow panels, where the cannabis could be hidden while transporting it from Holland.
Feavyour was sentenced to six years, Moore was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail and Rickard got four years for trafficking cannabis from Holland.
Operation Oscilllate: Heroin smugglers jailed
In a separate police operation (Operation Oscillate) two men have been jailed following an attempt to smuggle more than 1.5m worth of heroin into the UK by hiding it in the packaging of adiabatic air coolers.
In July 2007, a consignment of class A drugs was intercepted by customs officers at Birmingham Airport. The heroin was concealed in the pallets carrying the coolers supplied by a Turkish firm and bound for a freight forwarding firm in the West Midlands. Thirty packages of heroin weighing almost 30kg were seized.
Each of the adiabatic air-coolers were valued at between £2,000-£5,000. The police recovered eight out of 19 units that came into the UK via the same route. Eleven units are still missing. Police say the units could have been dumped, sold for scrap or sold on.
Two men were sentenced at Nottingham Crown court in December 2009 to 18 and 25 years for their part in the heroin smuggling. Police are still seeking a third man.