Drugs shame of cricket star

by Roxanne Blakelock A former England cricketer was jailed today for 13 years for smuggling �140,000 worth of cocaine into the country. Chris Lewis, 41, of Bruce Road, Harlesden, was stopped as he arrived at Gatwick Airport in December la

by Roxanne Blakelock

A former England cricketer was jailed today for 13 years for smuggling �140,000 worth of cocaine into the country.

Chris Lewis, 41, of Bruce Road, Harlesden, was stopped as he arrived at Gatwick Airport in December last year from St Lucia.

Lewis, who worked as a cricket coach, and 27-year-old ex-basketball player Chad Kirnon were found guilty of carrying a liquid form of the class A drug by concealing it in cans of fruit and vegetable juice.


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Judge Nicholas Ainley said: "In a cowardly attempt to evade justice, you each sought to blame the other for a crime you obviously jointly committed.

"Drug smugglers would not entrust a valuable cargo like this to an innocent traveller,"

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Addressing Lewis, Judge Ainley said: "You made it to the top of your profession."

He added: "This was greed and I am sure that you ran the risk that you did because you deduced that the risk was worth it, because the rewards were substantial.

"You were knowingly and willingly engaged in major organised crime."

Lewis claimed to have been on holiday in St Lucia and that he was unaware his luggage contained the drugs.

He had stated he was travelling alone and that he had packed his luggage himself.

During the trial he said he did not even know cocaine could be converted into a liquid form.

His co-accused was also found with three tins of dissolved cocaine in his luggage when he was stopped by officials 10 minutes later.

The court heard customs officers seized five tins of juice inside Lewis's Puma cricket bag which contained a brown liquid which smelt of chemicals and turned out to be 100 per cent pure cocaine.

Traces of cannabis residue were also found in his luggage on a silver grinder and on cigarette papers which were tucked into a paperback book.

The two were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court after an eight day trial.

roxanne.blakelock@archant.co.uk

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