Two men jailed for using drones to drop drugs into prisons - Bovingdon and London

12/05/2017

A deported Lithuanian criminal smuggled himself back into the UK and flew drugs into prisons.

Tomas Natalevicius used drones to breach the security at The Mount Prison in Bovingdon, Herts and at Pentonville in London.

In July 2013, he was jailed for five years at Wood Green Crown Court for his part in stealing millions of pounds worth of cars. He was described as the right hand man of the Lithuanian gang leader. Half-way through that sentence he was deported. But on Friday, Luton Crown Court heard that he smuggled himself back to the UK and between August and October last year flew drones at the two jails.

Natalevicius, aged 35, of no fixed address, and fellow Lithuanian, Dalius Zilinskas, aged 33, of Grange Road, London E13 appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply Class A and B drugs. Natalevicius also admitted conveying a prohibited article into Pentonville. In addition, he appeared for sentence for attempted theft and handling stolen goods having been caught driving a stolen BMW and being seen smashing the window of another BMW.

Prosecutor Philip Levy said: "The authorities became aware of an attempt to land drugs at the Mount using a drone. The defendants were traced to a car in a nearby field and a prison cell was searched."

The prison officers could see the glare of a computer screen which was switched off as they approached. A drone controller and a battery pack was recovered. Cells at the prison were put in lock down and 173 grams of cannabis and 4.89 grams of cocaine were recovered from the drop, which happened at 2am on 16 October last year.

Earlier, in August, a drone controlled by Natalevicius crashed at Pentonville jail. No items were recovered from it. It is not clear if a contraband delivery had already been made.

Mr Levy went on: "This was dealing drugs to people who themselves will deal in a prison context. Natalevicius had already been deported once for previous convictions. In these cases drones are sent very close to prisoners' windows at the dead of night, avoiding lights. It involves considerable skill. These are expensive pieces of equipment and their use is causing all sorts of problems in prisons."

Sasha Queffurus, for Natalevicius said he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Like his co-defendant she said he was a drug addiction, who had used heroin from the age of 18. His parents had died when he was 13.

For Ziliniskas, Stephen Cooke said his level of responsibility was less. Mr Cooke said: "He was a carpenter earning good money, but got involved in drugs. Things spiralled down. Someone said if you help me with this you will get crack cocaine." He said deportation papers have already been served on his client.

Recorder David Bridge jailed Natalevicius for a total of 7 years 8 months and Ziliniskas for a total of 32 months.

The Judge told them: "You were both motivated by financial gain. You were entrusted with a valuable cargo and equipment, showing you had trust of those high up the chain of command. The most serious aggravating feature is that you were conspiring to send drugs into prison. Drugs increase the level of violence in prison, putting inmates and staff at risk." Both will be deported half way through their sentences.

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