Lewisham man and three others sentenced after £700,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis smuggled into UK
Left to right: David Fox, Stephen Chambers, David Rowe and Gordon Wilkie
Four members of an organised crime network – including one man from Lewisham – have been sentenced to 22 years in prison after an estimated £700,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis was smuggled into the UK.
Stephen Chambers, 45, from Brighton, was sentenced in relation to an offence in January 2013, in which he organised the importation of 46kg cannabis into the UK, hidden in a container of fruit that originated in Ghana.
He was assisted by David Rowe, 53, of Overcliff Road, Lewisham, who used his contacts in Ghana to facilitate the importation.
The men were under surveillance by the NCA when the drugs, which had a potential street value of almost £200,000, were intercepted by Border Force officers from a container at Tilbury Docks, Essex on January 13 2013.
The container was released to Chambers, who was unaware the drugs had been seized and had arranged for it to be delivered to Brighton on January 28 2013.
NCA officers then watched Chambers and a third man, Gordon Wilkie, 40, from Brighton, unloading the container and discarding the fruit by the side of the road, when they eventually realised it was empty of drugs.
Meanwhile Chambers and David Fox, 65, also from Brighton, attempted to smuggle 4kg of cocaine – which if cut and sold in the UK would have had a potential street value of over £500,000 – into Gatwick Airport in September 2012
Fox, a Gatwick baggage handler at the time, was using his access to the transfer shed area of the airport to remove drugs from suitcases and smuggle them out among his own belongings.
Both men pleaded guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence.