September 19 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 19, 2012
A consignment of pineapples was a front for a £34million cocaine smuggling operation, a court has heard.
Police swooped on a Brandon industrial unit last October and uncovered what is believed to be Suffolk’s largest police haul of Class A drugs.
Terrance Smith, 57, and Frederick Colverson, 56, were arrested and later charged with conspiring to supply cocaine.
Smith, of Ethelreda Drive, Thetford, pleaded guilty on July 6 but Colverson, of Galsworthy Avenue, London, denied the charge and his trial began at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday. David Holborn, prosecuting, said police had watched a lorry arrive in Highbury Road, Brandon, on October 31 and heard animated reactions as the cargo was opened.
“Somebody was very excited about what he’d received,” Mr Holborn added.
Officers raided the lorry and found 174kg of cocaine – with a street value of £34m – concealed in the bottom of the fruit boxes.
Mr Holborn said the swoop was made at the premises of 24/7 Import Export (Europe) Ltd, which was registered to Smith.
The prosecutor, questioning why there were allegedly no refrigeration units at the premises, added: “If you are importing pineapples to sell on and you have to leave them in units in the summer, you are not going to have many left to sell on to the public.
“The prosecution says that company and premises were set up for one reason. Not for importing pineapples but the main reason was to get cocaine into the country.
“The premises are a front for the importation of cocaine.”
Mr Holborn said the vehicles of both Colverson and Smith were found parked next to each other at a nearby unit, both with their ignition keys easily accessible.
He added: “Why did they choose to park where they did and why did they leave their keys on the windscreen?”
The trial continues.