Jersey’s Royal Court has handed out stiff sentences to six men found guilty of attempting to import cannabis with a street value of a million pounds.
The ring-leader – and once Britain’s biggest drugs baron – Curtis Warren – was given 13 years. It’s likely he’ll serve that in the UK.
His ‘lieutenant’ John Welsh was given 12 years, and the man who was going to bring the drugs into the island by speedboat – James O’Brien – was jailed for ten years.
The other three – Paul Hunt, Jason Woodward and Oliver Lucas – who were helping to fund the deal, and were going to act as couriers, were each sentenced to five years.
Afterwards, David Warcup, Acting Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police said:
‘The sentencing sends out a message that attempts to import drugs into Jersey will not be tolerated. As this case has shown, and today’s sentences, drugs do not need to be recovered for people involved in this trade to be dealt with all the way through the criminal justice system.
‘The sentences mark the end of a complex Police operation, which has seen officers from the States of Jersey Police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Merseyside Police, France, Holland and Belgium, working together.
This result is also a reflection of the hard work, dedication and commitment of all the officers and agencies involved in this enquiry.
Tackling serious and organised crime is a priority for the States of Jersey Police.
In recent years, Serious Organised Crime has become increasingly sophisticated and global in its activities. If the Island is to protect itself from the impact of serious and organised crime, and all that this entails, we must remain focused on defeating those who seek to bring crime to the Island.
We know there have been queries regarding the cost of this operation, and it is estimated that the Police operation cost in the region of £600,000, although we have yet to finalise the accounts in relation to this matter.
Whilst it is appropriate that all costs are fully accounted for, the most important thing is to demonstrate our determination to fight serious crime. Anything less than a show of determination will send out the wrong message to criminal gangs and leave the Island exposed to be exploited by criminals who seek to reap the financial benefits of the lucrative drugs market which exists within the Island. It will also potentially expose the Island to the types of violence which is frequently associated with the drugs trade.
We remain determined to make sure that this does not happen, and hope that the sentences handed down by the Royal Court today reinforces the view that people who choose to be involved in the drugs trade, whether drugs are recovered or not, will be dealt with robustly.’