Brandon: Man denies involvement in delivery of cocaine concealed in pineapples
A MAN accused of being involved in a �34 million cocaine smuggling operation has told a court he was visiting a friend at the Suffolk industrial unit where the drugs were found when he was arrested by police.
Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court Frederick Colverson, 56, said he went to the unit in Highbury Road, Brandon on October 31 to visit his friend Terrance Smith and had planned to go with him to look at some cars that were for sale.
However, when he got to the unit Smith had asked him to wait as he was expecting a delivery.
Colverson said that he was moving a motor bike trailer into the unit when police officers climbed over a fence and told him to stand still.
Colverson told the court that he had no knowledge of the large amount of cocaine found in a consignment of pineapples that had been delivered to Smith’s unit and said he had not been involved in organising the delivery.
He said that documents found at his house which appeared to relate to the delivery belonged to Smith.
Smith, 57, of Ethelreda Drive, Thetford has admitted conspiring to supply cocaine but Colverson, of London has denied the charge.
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The court has heard that police swooped on Smith’s industrial unit in Brandon last October and uncovered what is believed to be Suffolk’s largest police haul of Class A drugs.
David Holborn, prosecuting, told the court that police watched a lorry arrive in Highbury Road, Brandon, on October 31 and heard animated reactions as the cargo was opened. “Somebody was very excited about what he’d received,” Mr Holborn added.
Officers raided the lorry and found 174kg of cocaine – with a street value of �34m – concealed in the bottom of the fruit boxes.
Mr Holborn said the swoop was made at the premises of 24/7 Import Export (Europe) Ltd, which was registered to Smith.
He said there were no refrigeration units at the premises and added: “If you’re importing pineapples to sell on and you have to leave them in units in the summer you’re not going to have many left to sell.
“The prosecution says that company and premises were setup for one reason. Not for importing pineapples but the main reason was to get cocaine into the country. The premises are a front for the importation of cocaine.”
The trial continues today (Tues)..