Clayhall man jailed for smuggling drugs disguised as papaya and yams
- Credit: Archant
A man from Clayhall has been jailed for importing almost 65kg of cocaine and cannabis in the UK disguised as papaya pieces and fake yams.
Jarnail Singh, 39, of Clayhall Avenue, was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment for his “central” role in a drug dealing gang.
Three other men were also sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court, yesterday having all previously pleaded guilty to various drugs importation and drugs supply offences.
Det Con Catherine Pearson, who investigated the case, said: “This police operation successfully dismantled a sophisticated crime network that was regularly importing drugs into the UK disguised as food.
“Jarnail Singh was central to this criminal network that had gone to great lengths to conceal cocaine as papaya pieces and hide cannabis inside fake yams, in a clear bid to evade detection by UK Border Force.
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“The gang demonstrated their sophistication by using encrypted mobile devices in a bid to frustrate any police investigation but despite their efforts, we were still able to piece together enough evidence to leave them little choice other than to plead guilty at court.”
On January 13 last year officers stopped gang member Barrington Bennett shortly after he picked up a number of boxes from a freight company in Southall, in Ealing.
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When officers seized the boxes, they found bags of dried fruit and nuts labelled ‘Fancy Island Mix’ but when the contents were forensically analysed they were found to contain two kilograms of crack cocaine that had been coloured orange to make it look like papaya.
The following day Singh was arrested after he was seen in convoy with Bennett and made a delivery of several other boxes at an address in Beresford Road, north London.
After a search police discovered 33.8kg of herbal cannabis disguised as yams hidden amongst real vegetables.
Over the next two months a further 63kg of the Class B drug were found in Reading and London related to the gang.
Det Sgt Nicola Hawkins said: “I am extremely proud of the diligence and professionalism of my team that has resulted in the sentences handed down today.
“Working with our colleagues from Thames Valley Police and UK Border Force we have stopped the activities of this gang and prevented a large amount of drugs from being sold on the streets of London.”
Singh, 39, a company director pleaded guilty to conspiracy to importing Class A and B drugs.
Bennett, 58, a painter and decorator of no fixed address pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and was sentenced on 2 December 2016 to three years and nine months’ imprisonment.
Three other men were also imprisoned for their roles in the conspiracy.