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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

South London men face furniture drug smuggling charges


Six men have gone on trial accused of conspiring to smuggle more than £2.5m of cocaine into the country. Kevin Hill, 27, of Cartmel Gardens, Morden, Wayne Smith, 19, of Westmoreland Way, Mitcham and Carl Charles, 33, of Yorkshire Road, Mitcham, face charges of attemtping to import 13.5kg of the drug. Three other men Craig Hughes, 35, from Orpington, Conrad Crandon, 55, from Edmonton and Terence Tremblett, 32, from Brixton, also face the same charge. The offences date back to October and November, in 2009, when border agency officers at Tilbury Docks, in Essex, flagged up a container holding a number of items of wicker furniture and brush mats. After closer inspection, the jury heard, the officers found the brush mats had been injected with cocaine which, when separated, came to a total of more than £2.5m. Simon Wild, prosecuting, told the court that a respectable removal firm, called Grants of Cheam, based in Coomber Lane, Croydon, had allegedly received a phone call from a Keith Thompson in late October, 2009, who said he wanted to store a shipment. Grants of Cheam, unknowingly, agreed to take on the shipment but they did not hear from Mr Thompson for two weeks, the court heard. On November 10, 2009, Mr Thompson allegedly arranged for the furniture and mats to be delivered and they arrived that day. There followed a series of arrests after the items had reached Croydon and all six men were charged with conspiracy to smuggle, which they all deny. The trial, which started at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday (September 7), is expected to last three weeks.


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