Harlesden man jailed for £28.5m cocaine smuggling plot in Sussex
- Credit: Archant
The hunt is on to find a cocaine smuggler who could be hiding in Harlesden after he failed to turn up at his trial.
Solomon Cobourne was found guilty in his absence of conspiracy to import cocaine alongside Rorey Rose, 34, of Harlesden High Street, Harlesden.
Last week, Rose, a Jamaican national, was sentenced to 14 years in jail for plotting to flood the streets of east Sussex and London with £28.5million worth of the class A drug.
When he is caught Cobourne will be locked up for 20 years.
Brighton Crown Court heard the pair were snared as part of Operation Bronzo, an investigation to weed out the criminals behind the distribution of cocaine in the Bexhill area of Sussex between 2011 and 2014.
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Between June and September 2011, 15 identical packages were delivered by a courier firm to three separate addresses in Bexhill.
The last package was intercepted by police and a dummy package delivered in its place.
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The intercepted package contained a kilo of cocaine at 90 per cent purity with a street value of £178,200.
Rose was linked to the package but fled the area before he could be arrested.
He was traced after he was arrested for unrelated road traffic offences in London in December 2013.
He was subsequently held on suspicion of importing cocaine and a search of his flat uncovered evidence including a mobile phone which revealed relevant US contacts and text messages connecting him to the packages.
Further enquiries identified 123 separate cash transfers totalling £259,352.94 sent from the NW10 area to Los Angeles between February 2011 and June 2014.
Authorities in Los Angeles confirmed that the crook’s US contact was going to Money Service Businesses to collect the cash transfers paid to him for each kilo of cocaine that he shipped to the UK.
Each package is believed to have contained large quantities of cocaine.
Cobourne was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to import cocaine in August last year after he was linked to the packages but he failed to turn up at his trial last November.
Rose will be deported back to Jamaica when he has served his sentence.
Both men are also subjects of Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPOs) severely restricting their access to computers, mobile phones, and cash.
Det Con Dom Marini, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a complex investigation which has taken over three years and has involved close co-operation with law enforcement in the UK, the United States, and Jamaica.
“It became clear that we were dealing with international criminality which aimed to spread dangerous drugs in London and the Bexhill area, an avenue of supply that has now been completely stopped.”
Cobourne is 6ft tall, of slim build with a Jamaican accent.
Detectives believe he is either hiding in Brent or may have returned to Jamaica.
His details have been circulated worldwide by Interpol.
Anyone with information should call 101 quoting Operation Bronzo or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.