Gang jailed for smuggling cocaine into UK from Jamaica

|News, International and organised crime

A gang who imported cocaine into the UK from the Caribbean disguised as coconut milk powder, coffee and soy drinks have been jailed for more than 37 years.

Nigel Roberts, 41, arranged with Diana Ricketts, 35, and Craig Mullings, 47, for around five kilograms of cocaine to be imported into Manchester Airport by a courier travelling from Montego Bay, Jamaica, in June 2016.

The packages of cocaine disguised as coffee

Roberts also arranged the importation of 10.2 kilograms of cocaine into Gatwick Airport in August 2016.

He also conspired with other gang members in further importations, with Deannia Madden-Walker, 47, to import four kilograms of cocaine into Gatwick in September 2016 and with Abdul Thomas, 34, to import 10.8 kilograms of cocaine into Birmingham Airport in December 2016.

Roberts pleaded guilty to all four conspiracies to import cocaine on 13 April at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester. Ricketts likewise admitted the importation into Manchester.

Cocaine disguised as a soy drink

The three other defendants were all found guilty following a trial at the same court.

Roberts, Ricketts, Madden-Walker and Thomas were jailed at Minshull Street Crown Court today (20 July). Mullings will be sentenced at a later date.

Nigel James from the CPS said: “Nigel Roberts was a member of an organised criminal gang that had links to Jamaica.

“He organised with the four other defendants for large quantities of cocaine to be imported into the UK.

“Two of the defendants pleaded guilty but the others denied involvement. However, thanks to CPS prosecutors and the National Crime Agency working together to build a strong case, the jury found them guilty."

Notes to editors

  • Nigel James is a Specialist Prosecutor with the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division.
  • Nigel Roberts (10.05.77) pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He was sentenced to 13 years and six months’ imprisonment.
  • Diana Ricketts (25.12.82) pleaded guilty of one count of conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. She was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.  
  • Craig Mullings (30.12.71) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He will be sentenced in due course.
  • Deannia Madden-Walker (24.04.71) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. She was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.  
  • Abdul Nasir Thomas (07.01.84) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.

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