�1m coke scam gang sent to jail

A man who conspired to carry out an audacious �1 million drug scam was jailed for 10 years, writes Kate Ferguson. Property investor James Mitchell, 52, of Wrottesley Road, Harlesden, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and dangerous driving a

A man who conspired to carry out an audacious �1 million drug scam was jailed for 10 years, writes Kate Ferguson.

Property investor James Mitchell, 52, of Wrottesley Road, Harlesden, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and dangerous driving and sentenced to 12 months in prison. His sentences will run concurrently.

Mitchell, with three other men, targeted an innocent school and pet shop in Herne Hill, south London, to receive four large packages of cocaine smuggled in from Bolivia.

Each parcel contained a kilo of cocaine at 79 per cent purity - around four times the strength found in street deals and worth an estimate �1m.


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Couriers tried to deliver the drugs on April 7, but returned them to the depot when they were turned away by staff at the school and pet shop. A few days later Mitchell and two men went to the Croydon depot. Mitchell waited in the red BMW getaway car while a man - later identified as Abrahim Abdul Wahid - collected the packages.

Detectives, alerted to the scam by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) who intercepted the parcels coming into the country, were watching the scene unfold and tried to arrest the four men.

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But seeing the officers, Wahid jumped into the car and Mitchell sped off. Detectives chased the car and caught the BMW, arresting all four inside.

Mitchell was arrested for conspiracy to supply cocaine and dangerous driving.

Officers later searched the house of Anthony Reid, a fashion designer from north Finchley. They found a fully converted and loaded MAC-10 sub-machine gun in a children's bedroom with 15 rounds in a sock.

Acting Detective Sergeant, Luke Da'Bell, of the MPS' serious and organised crime command, said: "Motivated by money, these criminals used innocent people to cover up the trail of their importation.

"That a loaded sub-machine gun was found, suggests what lengths they may have gone to had we not intercepted them. Cocaine is a dangerous class A drug and we are committed to catching those responsible for its illegal distribution."

Craig Beckford, from Tooting, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and sentenced to 10 years.

Anthony Reid from north Finchley, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, and seven years for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. The sentences run consecutively.

Abrahim Abdul Wahid, from Greenwich, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for conspiracy to supply cocaine.

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