Second time lucky for officers who caught drug trafficker with £300k of cocaine in dried milk powder tins

This drug trafficker was caught trying to import £300,000 worth of cocaine packed into tins of dried milk powder in his luggage.

Left, Michael Kellar who has been jailed, and top right, the tins found in the luggage and, bottom right, how the tins showed up on scans
Left, Michael Kellar who has been jailed, and top right, the tins found in the luggage and, bottom right, how the tins showed up on scans

Officers discovered the haul five years after they believe Michael Kellar, from Bilston, lost another consignment of illegal drugs.

Kellar was arrested by Border Force officers at Birmingham Airport on April 3 after he arrived on a flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica.

He had previously been arrested, but never charged, in connection with a previous importation of cocaine into Gatwick Airport from Jamaica in March 2012.

The National Crime Agency said on that occasion officers carried out checks on a suitcase that had been apparently abandoned on the baggage carousel.

Inside they found 4.7 kilos of liquid cocaine, with a potential street value £375,000, inside tins of fruit punch.

The suitcase had Kellar’s name on it but he was nowhere to be seen at the airport.

The tins of fruit punch discovered in 2012

The following March, Kellar flew back into the UK again from Jamaica, and was arrested and questioned by National Crime Agency officers in connection with the 2012 importation.

But he had denied any knowledge and had no drugs in his possession.

In the absence of further evidence prosecutors decided not to charge him.

The National Crime Agency investigation remained open, and Kellar left the country.

Liquid cocaine, with a potential street value £375,000, was found inside tins of fruit punch

He came back onto the crime agency’s radar following his arrest in April 2017 and on this occasion he was charged in connection with both importations.

He was charged with two counts of importation of a controlled drug of class A.

Kellar, aged 58, of Park Road, was found guilty following a six day trial, and today he was sentenced to 13 years in prison by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court heard how he had previous convictions for possessing and supplying crack cocaine.

National Crime Agency Birmingham operations manager, Dawn Cartwright, said: “Kellar might have thought that he’d got away with the first importation, but he never dropped off our radar and given his criminal history it seemed only a matter of time before he’d try it again.

“He claimed the fact two consignments of cocaine could be linked to him five years apart was pure coincidence, but clearly the jury looked at the strength of the evidence we put before them, saw through that charade and saw fit to convict him.

“Cocaine is a drug which fuels further crime, violence and exploitation so by stopping it reaching the streets and taking out a supplier like Kellar who plays a key part in that organised criminal chain, we have protected the public.”

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