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More than half a million pounds of property and cash seized from organised gang that included Upminster drug runner

16:50 22 December 2016

One of the Cessna light aircraft used to import drugs

One of the Cessna light aircraft used to import drugs

Archant

Goods and cash seized from a drug gang which used a light aircraft to smuggle class A drugs into the UK have scaled the £500,00 mark.

Jamie Williams, of Bird Lane, Upminster, was sentenced to 23 years in jail.Jamie Williams, of Bird Lane, Upminster, was sentenced to 23 years in jail.

Jamie Williams, 39, of Bird Lane, Upminster, was jailed back in February for 23 years after helping to bring £33.5m of cocaine into Britain by air.

He was convicted and sentenced alongside Mark Dowling, 44, and pilot Andrew Wright, 53, following the seizure of 34 kilos of cocaine at an airfield in Breighton, North Yorkshire, in November 2014.

Wright, nicknamed Biggles by his co-conspirators, had flown the class A consignment from a private airfield in Germany.

He was assisted by the Upminster smuggler who investigators showed would have collected the drugs and driven them south afterwards.

Items seized and confiscated

- The Cessna plane used by Wright, sold at auction for £30,000

- A BMW car used by Williams, sold at auction for £12,000

- £65,000 from a company linked to the group, used to finance the purchase of the Cessna by Wright

- £106,000 and €17,500 cash seized from Williams’ home address

- £13,000 cash seized from Dowling’s home address

- Around £250,000 seized from two cash couriers convicted of money laundering in connection with the investigation

Dowling, from Brentwood, had arranged the shipments using his criminal contacts in the Netherlands.

Among the items seized and sold at auction were a Cessna plane for £30,000, a BMW car for £12,000 and £106,000 in cash from an Upminster home.

The total amount confiscated from the group stands at £525,711.

Proceedings have been concluded at the Old Bailey with a judge ordering Wright to pay a further £32,000, including proceeds from the sale of a second plane, and Dowling £17,000.

They have three months to hand the sums over or they will receive a further 18 months in jail, and will still owe the money.

Mick Maloney, from the National Criminal Agency’s Border Policing Command, said: “Many of those involved in this kind of organised crime see prison as an occupational hazard.

“Their motivation is almost always financial, so it can hurt much more when we strip them of any kind of benefit from their criminality, be that money, property or other assets.

“In this case in addition to stopping a crime group responsible for bringing in large amounts of class A drugs, we have taken assets worth more than half a million pounds, including a plane and car, out of the hands of organised criminals.”

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