Sunday 24 February 2019

Gang members jailed after €3.3m cartel drug smuggling plot foiled

Photo issued by the National Crime Agency of a box of cocaine recovered by officers from the National Crime Agency. Three men who attempted to smuggle £3m (€3.3m) of drugs into Dublin have been jailed for a total of 27 years and five months at Liverpool Crown Court
PA Wire
Photo issued by the National Crime Agency of a box of cocaine recovered by officers from the National Crime Agency. Three men who attempted to smuggle £3m (€3.3m) of drugs into Dublin have been jailed for a total of 27 years and five months at Liverpool Crown Court PA Wire

Robin Schiller and Eoghan MacConnell

Three men jailed for attempting to smuggle more than €3.3m of drugs into Dublin were working for a major Kinahan cartel trafficker.

The plot was busted by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Metropolitan Police's Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) last June and led to three men being jailed for a total of 27 years at a Liverpool court yesterday.

Christopher Rigg (52), Wayne Sudbury (40) and Artur Jaku-Graham (32) had previously pleaded guilty to drug offences connected to the seizure at Holyhead Port on June 4. The massive shipment, which included 30kg of cocaine, 45kg of cannabis, 15kg of MDMA and 2kg of ketamine, was destined for the Irish market.

Gardaí believe the €3.3m drugs haul belonged to cartel associate Graham 'The Wig' Whelan (36), who runs a drug operation in Liverpool for the international crime gang. The Dublin man was previously a key player in the deadly Crumlin/Drimnagh feud and was jailed over a city centre hotel drug bust which was blamed for sparking the bloodshed.

He hit the headlines in November 2017 after an older associate was allegedly assaulted by an Irish sports personality in a Dublin pub.

The NCA said the drug seizure in Holyhead also led to an encrypted mobile phone and more than €4,000 in cash being recovered.

Wayne Sudbury (40) from Crosby in Merseyside, was jailed for 10 years and eight months at Liverpool Crown Court for drugs offences. PA Wire
Wayne Sudbury (40) from Crosby in Merseyside, was jailed for 10 years and eight months at Liverpool Crown Court for drugs offences. PA Wire
Artur Jaku-Graham (32) of no fixed address, was jailed for six years at Liverpool Crown Court for drugs offences. PA Wire
Christopher Rigg (52) of no fixed address, who was jailed for 10 years and nine months at Liverpool Crown Court for drugs offences. PA Wire

"The OCP, working with the NCA Armed Operations Unit and UK Border Force, have successfully disrupted an organised crime network involved in the large-scale supply of Class A and B drugs," OCP operations manager Matt McMillan said. "Those involved in the supply of drugs perpetuate the culture of violence and we will use all the specialist capabilities available to us to combat this threat."

Photo issued by the National Crime Agency of Wayne Sudbury carrying a box of cocaine to a lorry. Sudbury (40) from Crosby in Merseyside, was jailed for 10 years and eight months at Liverpool Crown Court for drugs offences. PA Wire
Photo issued by the National Crime Agency of Wayne Sudbury carrying a box of cocaine to a lorry. Sudbury (40) from Crosby in Merseyside, was jailed for 10 years and eight months at Liverpool Crown Court for drugs offences. PA Wire

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