Sixteen Sentenced for £13 million drug importation

16/12/2013

Sixteen defendants from across West Yorkshire have been sentenced to a total of over forty years for their parts in the importation of hundreds of kilograms of illegal, synthetic drugs, with an estimated street value of £13.1 million.

John Halliday, the ringleader and principal defendant, dealt in body-building supplements and, before April 2010, ran a lucrative sideline in so-called legal highs. When the drugs were classified as Class B, and their importation, sale or possession became illegal in April 2010, rather than end his involvement, Halliday set up a highly sophisticated smuggling operation.

The drugs were imported into this country from China and India, through Greece and Germany. Complex financial arrangements were put in place to disguise the passage of money from the UK to China to fund the purchase of the drugs.  In the UK, a network of recipients was created, providing postal addresses for the receipt of the drugs. 

While Halliday remained in overall control, Paul Arabskyj provided finance and banking.  Administration and shipping was organised by Bernadette Cahill and David Stephens, whilst Alan Glover and Paul Wilcox provided logistical support, collecting parcels of drugs from the recipients and delivering them on to customers, some of them drug wholesalers.

 David Holderness, reviewing lawyer in CPS Yorkshire and Humbersides Complex Casework Unit said:

"This was an industrial-scale importation of Class B drugs destined for the streets of our region and very probably beyond.    We were dealing here with highly sophisticated criminal conspirators who had developed a global network of contacts in order to import these illicit drugs and distribute them on our streets and in our communities. 

"Thankfully their operational network has been exposed and the conspirators will serve lengthy sentences in jail as a result of their crimes.  Weve worked closely in liaison with colleagues at West Yorkshire Police throughout this complex case in order to put a clear and detailed case before the court.   The sentences the defendants have received today send out a clear message that the importation of dangerous, illegal substances into this country will be robustly prosecuted."