Jailed: Fairlop locksmith stashed 15 kg of cocaine in van's hidden compartment
- Credit: Met Police
A Fairlop locksmith has been jailed after officers recovered 15 kilograms of cocaine - worth £1.5million - from a hidden compartment behind key cutting equipment in his van.
Alex Guest, 40, of Boleyn Way, was sentenced to 11 years and three months imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday, March 30.
He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of criminal property at the same court last June.
On Monday, April 20 last year at about 7.20pm, officers from the Met's Specialist Crime Command stopped a van on the M11, near the junction with the A406, in Redbridge.
It happened as part of an intelligence-led operation targeting drugs supply.
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Officers searched the van, which was driven by Guest, and found an elaborate hidden compartment.
The compartment was concealed within a partition wall of the van and was operated by hydraulic arms, behind locksmith cutting equipment.
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Within the hide, officers found a bag containing more than 15 kg of cocaine.
A number of mobile phones were also found inside the van, along with a set of electronic scales and a sophisticated communications device known as EncroChat.
Guest was arrested on suspicion with intent to supply Class A drugs (cocaine).
Detectives carried out a search at his home and recovered more than £129,000 in cash.
Another address linked to Guest was also searched where they recovered two hydraulic press machines.
He was further arrested on suspicion of possession of criminal property.
During his police interview, Guest answered no comment to all the questions put to him.
Detective Constable Russell McIntyre, from Specialist Crime, said: “Guest was part of an organised network importing large amounts of cocaine into the UK almost routinely.
"Using his legitimate locksmith business as cover, he thought he could conceal his involvement by using an elaborate hide – he failed.
“This investigation is an example of great team work which led to us taking a huge quantity of harmful Class A drugs off the streets of London.
“Drugs blight communities and ruin lives and we will continue to robustly target those responsible for bringing them into the capital.”