Thetford and London man face jail over £34m cocaine haul found in Brandon industrial unit
16:59 27 July 2012
Two men are facing lengthy jail sentences for their involvement in a £34m cocaine smuggling operation which resulted in Suffolk police’s largest seizure of class A drugs.
Suffolk company director Terance Smith and unemployed Frederick Colverson were arrested after police raided an industrial unit in Highbury Road, Brandon, last October and discovered 174 kilogrammes of high-purity cocaine hidden in the bottom of boxes of pineapples.
Smith, 57, of Ethelreda Drive, Thetford, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and Colverson, 56, of London, denied the charge but was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court after a two-week trial which ended yesterday.
Their arrests followed an intelligence-led operation spanning several months, with officers gathering information relating to the importation of cocaine through Felixstowe Docks.
The operation culminated on October 31 when officers raided the premises of 24/7 Import Export (Europe) Ltd at Brandon after a container in which the cocaine was hidden was delivered there. After Colverson’s guilty verdict, Judge John Devaux adjourned sentence to August 7 to allow him to be sentenced with Smith. He remanded Colverson in custody and told him to expect a long prison sentence. A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will take place at a later date.
During the trial the court heard that police watched a lorry arrive at the industrial unit, which was registered to Smith, on October 31 and heard animated reactions as the cargo was opened.
David Holborn, prosecuting, said: “Somebody was very excited about what he’d received.”
Giving evidence, Colverson said he went to the unit to visit his friend Terance Smith, intending to go with him to look at some cars for sale.
He admitted there had been a number of phone calls between him and Smith that day but denied they were discussing the drugs delivery.
Colverson admitted he had made money transfers abroad in false names but denied he was sending money he was earning from drugs out of the country.