Wanstead drug smuggler who tried to bring £2m of pink cocaine into UK jailed for 16 years

The liquid cocaine, which was bright pink, had been concealed in oil cannisters.

The liquid cocaine, which was bright pink, had been concealed in oil cannisters. - Credit: Archant

A drug smuggler who attempted to bring £2million of cocaine into the UK by dyeing it pink has been jailed for 16 years.

Errol Watson, of Queenswood Gardens, Wanstead, was sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment for conspirac

Errol Watson, of Queenswood Gardens, Wanstead, was sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment for conspiracy to import cocaine at the Old Bailey on Wednesday. - Credit: Archant

Errol Watson, 54, of Queenswood Gardens, Wanstead, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import cocaine at the Old Bailey and was sentenced by Judge Richard Hone QC.

Watson had been attempting to import the drugs from Barbados, where his brother lived, in liquid form in cannisters labelled as oil filters.

Upon investigating the containers, the National Crime Agency discovered 26 kilograms of the Class A substance.

Watson was arrested after taking delivery of the cannisters, which had been refilled with sand.

Records seized in the raids showed Watson had been involved in previous shipments using several different aliases.

In some cases cylinders had been recycled, and sent back to Barbados empty to be used again.

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His brother had previously been convicted in Barbados of cocaine possession.

Steve McIntyre, from the NCA’s border policing command, said: “Drug trafficking is a crime that has great impacts, from exploitation in South American source countries to violence and gun crime on the streets of London. I have no doubt that Errol Watson had been involved in this type of criminality for years.

“This was certainly an unusual method of smuggling cocaine, the first time we have seen it in brightly coloured pink liquid like this.

“It was also a very deep concealment, demonstrating that the organised crime groups we are combating have access to sophisticated equipment and expertise.”

Laura Tams, specialist prosecutor from the CPS organised crime division, said: “Errol Watson was at the heart of a sophisticated and organised conspiracy to import cocaine into the UK from the Caribbean.”

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