What’s needed to conduct a drug importation investigation?

Posted: December 3, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Although each investigation will vary in method, resource requirement and management, Operation Addington conducted by Cumbria Constabulary took over 3 years to complete and finally saw six men convicted of conspiracy to import 105kg of high-purity cocaine with a street value of £15 million.

Cumbria Constabulary - Safer Stronger Cumbria

The men conspired to transport drugs from Germany to the UK using legitimate transport companies by secreting cocaine in furniture and packing boxes belonging to fictitious military personnel.

Twelve officers spent almost three years dedicated exclusively to “Operation Addington”, and at its height about 100 others from the force were involved along with colleagues from other forces and HM Revenue and Customs.  Once the offenders were convicted, specialist financial investigators then began seizing assets (belonging to the convicted men) paid for by the proceeds of crime.  The operation saw 2,331 statements taken, 4,363 exhibits seized and 35 disclosure phases to defence lawyers.

This was believed to be one of the largest seizures on the UK mainland.

The gang’s method was to use their detailed knowledge of the removal of soldiers’ belongings from Germany back to the UK.

Members went to great lengths to avoid detection, using multiple mobile phones and phone numbers, convoluted travel routes to get to and from the continent and even ran small businesses as a front for the drug trafficking.

The conspiracy comprised three trips to the continent. During the first, no drugs were brought back.  The second run was more successful and an undisclosed amount of drugs were distributed.  However, unknown to the gang, they were being covertly filmed by officers from the Cumbria force on the third run.  A van was recorded being loaded with furniture at a unit at an industrial estate in Preston, Lancashire.  When it arrived in Germany, the furniture was packed with cocaine and brought back to the UK in the guise of the belongings of a fictitious soldier.

A legitimate haulage company, which was unaware of its illegal cargo, made the return journey.

This is typical of many other similar investigations.

Does your cop solve their drugs job on their own, in an instant?  You may want to think again.

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