Jailed: Gang who smuggled £3.5m worth of drugs from Jamaica
- Credit: National Crime Agency
Three members of an organised crime group convicted of smuggling £3.5m worth of drugs from Jamaica have been jailed.
Attiq Ur Rehman, 41, of Stafford Road, East Ham; Sarbit Chumber, 48, of Vicarage Farm Road, Hounslow and Kashif Mushtaq, 38, of Heaton Close, Romford, were all found guilty of Class A and B drug importation at Southwark Crown Court on April 1.
They returned to the same court for sentencing yesterday (April 21).
Rehman was jailed for nine years and six months; Chumber for 14 years and Mushtaq for 17 years and six months.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation began in October 2018 when police found nearly 35kg of cannabis hidden inside boxes used to transport sweet potatoes.
One of those arrested over the haul - discovered in a car in Hackney - was Mushtaq, who was found to have links with Jamaica.
He and two other men were found not guilty in relation to that seizure.
Three months later, 94 packages containing cocaine and cannabis - worth £3.5m - were found in another load of sweet potatoes on a flight that landed at Gatwick Airport from Kingston, Jamaica.
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NCA teams tracked the second load of drugs to an industrial estate in Hayes, while Rehman was arrested as he took a handover of the boxes in Kingsbury Road, Colindale.
Chumber, who had been in phone contact with Rehman, was then arrested at Spitalfields Market.
Analysis of their phone messages led officers to Mushtaq, who was arrested upon returning to the UK from Pakistan.
The trio were found guilty of drug smuggling offences in relation to this later shipment.