A LORRY driver and two other men were each jailed for five years and seven months for their roles in trying to smuggle 69kgs of cocaine worth £5.5 million through a ferry port.
Joseph Gray, 52, of Draperstown, Northern Ireland, had been held when a trailer was searched at Holyhead in October 2020.
Defence counsel Simon Mintz at Caernarfon crown court described the driver, who helped on his family farm, as “naïve.”
Moynul Hoque, 32, of Clapton, London, and Usman Iqbal, 36, of Grays, Essex, were also involved. They admitted drug smuggling.
Judge Nicola Saffman said none of them had any idea of the extent of the criminality.
They were in severe financial difficulties because of the pandemic and had issues with their mental health.
The judge told them they were “entirely out of your depth.”
A ringleader was at large.
The National Crime Agency said they were planning to smuggle cocaine from the UK to Ireland.
Inside Gray’s HGV were pallets of yoghurt and orange juice but hidden among them were 69 kilos of cocaine in one kilo blocks.
Gray had collected the drugs the day before from Hoque and Iqbal. The pair had driven to Thornbury near Bristol where they met Gray and handed over the drugs.
Phone and telematics evidence linked all three men to the area at that time.
Gray was arrested as he was about to travel to Dublin. Hoque and Iqbal were arrested later at the UK custom controls at the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, France, as they were travelling in a Belgian-registered BMW car.