Men sentenced after 3,500 ecstasy tablets found hidden inside soup cans

Men sentenced after 3,500 ecstasy tablets found hidden inside soup cans

Two men have been sentenced after a package containing more than 3,500 ecstasy tablets concealed in soup cans and destined for Somerset was intercepted at Coventry Airport.

Ricardo Guerreiro (below), 30, from 8 Ile Court, Ilminster, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of a class A drug and being concerned in an offer to supply a class A drug, and was sentenced to four years in prison at Taunton Crown Court last Wednesday (14 October).

Neil Francis (below), 45, from neighbouring 7 Ile Court, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was handed a suspended sentence last Thursday.

The convictions follow an investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU).

The package, originally marked for an address in Chard, was stopped by Border Force in June 2019.  It was turned away by the homeowner and taken to a parcel depot where Guerreiro unsuccessfully tried to claim it.  The delivery address was later changed online to 7 Ile Court in Ilminster where Francis was arrested after signing for the parcel.   Guerreiro was arrested two months later.

In total, 3,551 tablets were concealed inside five soup cans, with a street value of around £35k.

Detective Inspector Adrian Hawkins from the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) said: “This comes on the back of a case earlier in the year where a woman who tried to import £1million worth of crystal meth disguised in toy figures and coffee beans was jailed.  Again, Border Force intercepted the parcel and we investigated those behind the importation attempt.

“Cases like this demonstrate that this kind of criminality crosses international borders and, by working with our partners, we’re determined to do all we can to disrupt the criminal networks involved in drug supply and distribution and protect people in the South West.”