Suffolk drug smuggler jailed

A 61-YEAR-OLD Melton man is serving a 10-year jail term today for his part in a multi-million pound international drug smuggling network.

A 61-YEAR-OLD Melton man is serving a 10-year jail term today for his part in a multi-million pound international drug smuggling network.

Gerard John Dutton of Saddlemakers Lane, was one of three men who received prison sentences totalling 30 years for their part in the conspiracy.

Dutton was used by the conspirators to set up two false companies to help import cannabis worth �10 million into the UK from Spain, through legitimate hauliers.

His arrest came on the day a second lorry-load of cannabis was seized on July 8 last year, in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Unemployed Dutton, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court after admitting conspiracy to supply 3.06 tonnes of cannabis resin between January 1, 2008 and July 10, 2008. He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Codenamed Operation Cromer, the investigation run by the Metropolitan Police's projects team, which spent several months identifying the drug smugglers involved in importing and supplying cannabis from southern Spain.

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Intelligence led to customs officers to search a Spanish registered lorry on April 3 last year. The lorry was seized in Coquelles Port, Normandy, France, after travelling from Murcia, Spain, bound for the UK.

Six pallets of floor tiles containing 1.5 tonnes of cannabis resin were discovered concealed within it. The drugs had an estimated street value of �4.2million.

On July 8 a Spanish registered lorry as it came through the port of Dover. They discovered six pallets of 'dressed stone,' hiding a further 1.56 tonnes of cannabis resin. The street value was �4.45 million.

The Guardia Civil Grupo de Drogas in Spain then searched a warehouse in the south of the country and seized a further 690 kilos of cannabis, with an estimated UK street value of �1.93 million. This seizure also resulted in two further arrests in Spain.

Chris Brown, aged 55, of Greenhithe, Kent, was in control of the importation side of the smuggling operation and also received 10 years in jail for conspiracy to supply cannabis resin.

Keith Morez, aged 60, a company director of Sevenoaks, Kent, was found to be in possession of �24,000 cash, which was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). Morez pleaded guilty in relation to only the first lorry haul of drugs, seized on April 3. He is also now serving 10 years in jail.

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