Gang convicted of importing cocaine with a street value of £41 million into the UK

|News, Drug offences , Fraud and economic crime

Private jet used for the importation of cocaineFour men who brought £14 million worth of cocaine into the UK by flying it on a private jet to Farnborough airport have been convicted today (23 August).

Alessandro Lembo, Victor Franco Lorenzo, Jose Ramon Miguelez-Botas and Martin Neil hired a private jet costing £138,500, leaving London Luton airport to Bogota, Columbia on 26 January 2018.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that three days later, the defendants returned with 15 suitcases which were described as “exceptionally heavy” by airport transfer drivers.

When Border Force officials opened the cases for further inspection, 513 individually wrapped blocks of cocaine weight 1kg each were found with a street value of more than £41 million.

Tammy Mears, of the CPS, said: “This was a complex case involving high-value drug importation into the UK from Colombia.

Suitcase containing wrapped blocks of cocaine“These men thought they would go undetected in their operation by hiring a private jet to go to and from their supplier in South America.

“The CPS presented a strong case to the court, including phone and forensic evidence. Prosecutors also showed CCTV evidence from their stay in Colombia and the GPS data of the cars they used to show the movements of these defendants and their roles in importing large amounts of cocaine into the UK.”

Today the jury have found four men guilty of an offence of fraudulent evasion of a prohibition. Alessandro Lembo, Victor Franco Lorenzo and Martin Neil received prison sentences of 24 years each and Migulez Botas received a prison sentence of 20 years.

A fifth man, Stephen Neil, was acquitted by the jury.

Notes to editors

  • Tammy Mears is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex
  • Alessandro Iembo (DOB: 06/09/1989) was convicted of Fraudulent Evasion of a Prohibition following trial
  • Victor Franco Lorenzo (DOB 12/10/1977) was convicted of Fraudulent Evasion of a Prohibition following trial
  • Jose Ramon Miguelez-Botas (DOB 11/02/1962) was convicted of Fraudulent Evasion of a Prohibition following trial
  • Martin James Neil (DOB 31/03/1969) was convicted of Fraudulent Evasion of a Prohibition following trial
  • Stephen John Neil (DOB 03/10/1964) was acquitted of Fraudulent Evasion of a Prohibition following trial.

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