Smuggler said drug was mint

IPSWICH: A dope smuggler is serving an 18-month jail term today after claiming the hundreds of cannabis plants he was attempting to smuggle were mint.

Mateusz Malecki, of Cavendish Street, Ipswich, was in his car when it was stopped by UK Border Agency officers at the tourist controls at the port of Dover.

Canterbury Crown Court heard when the vehicle was searched on October 14 last year, 500 cannabis plants were found.

The court was told that previously Malecki had informed officers he had been to Belgium to look for a new car.

Officials then opened the car boot and found the cannabis plants.

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Malecki was arrested and during a further interview the 31-year-old said he thought the plants were mint, which he intended to sell to shops and restaurants in the UK for a profit. Forensic tests showed the plants to be cannabis.

A search of Malecki’s home also found 208 grams of herbal cannabis and 0.23 grams of a white powder containing amphetamine. The discoveries led to him being charged with possession with intent to supply the drugs. Malecki was given a further four months in jail for this offence.

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The sentence is to run concurrently with the 18-month jail term he received for the attempted importation of cannabis.

Malecki had previously pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on July 6.

After the case, Malcolm Bragg UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Investigation assistant director said: “It’s not often we encounter cannabis being brought into the UK in this way.

“Normally, cannabis – herbal or resin – is hidden in some way.

“Our officers are trained to detect all types of drug smuggling, however simple or sophisticated.”

n Do you think there should be tougher sentences for smugglers? E-mail eveningstar or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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