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NCA: Four smuggled drugs worth £2.1m into UK

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3 July 2018

Four men who smuggled three-quarters of a tonne of cannabis with a street value of more than £2.1m into the UK will be sentenced next month following an operation led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Brothers Kevin, 57 and John Downes, 58, and Brian Chapman, 64, all from Bermondsey, South London pleaded guilty at earlier court hearings to conspiracy to import controlled drugs into the UK.

Thomas Abrahams, 73, was found guilty at the Old Bailey on 28 June 2018 following a two week trial.

Left to right: Kevin Downes, John Downes, Thomas Abrahams, Brian Chapman

The men were arrested following an operation led by NCA officers together with partners from Kent and Essex Police.

The drugs were driven into the UK from Spain. They were delivered to a fictional company called ‘Levante European’, based at a rented industrial unit on Lower Road, Sheerness, Kent on 30 September, 2016.

NCA officers had the area under surveillance and watched as the drugs were unloaded from the van by John Downes.

Brian Chapman, brothers Kevin and John Downes were subsequently arrested with Abrahams being arrested the following month.

Paul Green, NCA Operation Manager, said: “This is a significant disruption of an organised crime network intent on bringing illegal drugs into the UK.

“The cannabis had a street value of more than £2.1 m and no doubt they proceeds would have funded further criminality.

“We take all importations of illegal drugs seriously and this joint operation with colleagues from Kent and Essex police has prevented a substantial quantity of drugs from ending up on our streets.”

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