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Walsall ringleader jailed for £1 million cocaine smuggling plot

By Tom Oakley | Streetly | News | Published:

The ringleader of a gang which imported at least £1million worth of cocaine into the UK from Jamaica has been jailed for more than 13 years.

Nigel Roberts, a barber from Streetly, was identified as the organiser behind three importations of cocaine into UK airports.

The 41-year-old, of Laneside Avenue, has been sentenced to 13 and a half years behind bars for his involvement in the drug operation.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine and was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court.

In total, he and three others, all from London, were sentenced to a total of 37 and a half years in prison, with one more still to be sentenced.

The cocaine seized

The National Crime Agency began investigating the group in June 2016 following a Border Force seizure of 5kg of cocaine concealed in packets of coconut milk powder at Manchester Airport.

Each seizure consisted of between 5kg to 10kg of cocaine.

In the first importation, Roberts worked with two others to recruit a courier in order to bring the drugs back from Jamaica in a suitcase.

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Days after the arrest of another accomplice, Roberts sent a voice note saying: “I’m on a bad luck streak, one of my ships crashed again.”

In addition to complicit couriers, the group sometimes used vulnerable and unknowing participants to smuggle the drugs for them.

John Hughes, Operations Manager at the NCA, said: “Roberts and his network were involved in a potentially lucrative business importing class A drugs into the UK. Not only would these profits have gone on to fund the supply of dangerous drugs, it would have fuelled the violence we so regularly see associated with this kind of activity.”

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@expressandstar.co.uk or call 01902 319482.

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