Harwich: Cannabis smuggling quartet found guilty
FOUR men have been found guilty of drug smuggling after trying to get kilos of cannabis worth millions of pounds past officials at Harwich International Port in Essex.
Burford resident Barry Haydon and Ivan Marshall from Eynsham were part of a gang that imported tonnes of the substance into the UK between 2009 and 2010, Isleworth Crown Court heard during the three-week trial.
Dutch national Michel Sempel was also convicted as was his brother Nicolaas, who failed to attend the trial.
Police began investigating the quartet after the UK Border Agency discovered approximately 645 kilos of cannabis concealed in a consignment of used clothing from Holland in March 2010.
Described as “major players” in the drug smuggling industry, the Sempel brothers were arrested on 26 March 2010 when they arrived to collect the load from a freight agent in Hounslow, west London.
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The pair used a van hired by Marshall with Haydon named as the driver.
The latter was arrested at his home later that day and Marshall was found and arrested in July 2010.
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UK Border Agency investigators found the gang had used the cover of a textile business run by the Sempel brothers to import around thirty other loads into the UK in 2009 and 2010
During this time, they created false invoices for onward sale of the clothing to cover their tracks.
Police believe they brought approximately 16 tonnes of cannabis with a street value of around �50 million between 2009 and 2010.
The Sempel brothers and Marshall will be sentenced at the court on 16 February and Haydon will be sentenced on 10 March.