Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Drug smuggler haulage boss jailed

The owner of a Kent haulage company has been jailed for 20 years after being convicted of smuggling over £600,000 worth of cocaine through Dover.

George Taylor, 49, of London Road, Wrotham, concealed the drugs in special aluminium tubes he had made.

They were then placed inside the axles of a lorry trailer.

Canterbury Crown Court heard he had already served a prison sentence after being found guilty of being involved in a drugs smuggling operation in 1991.

John Dodd, prosecuting, told the court that Taylor had been caught on 13 January 2003 after an intensive surveillance operation by Customs Officers.

His lorry had been followed from the depot in Wrotham where he ran his business, JJOG Transport, to Zeebrugge, where it was driven into a garage.

The lorry emerged loaded with another trailer, which was searched on its arrival at Dover.

A specially-made tool was found which unlocked the hub caps on the trailer to reveal six tubes containing a total of 20kg of powder of which nearly 10kg was pure cocaine, the court was told.

In court, Taylor said he had had the tubes made to transport fragile computer parts which were being damaged in transit.

He said that he had been asked to pick up the trailer for delivery in Northampton and that he had no idea the drugs were on board.

Passing sentence, Judge Anthony Webb said it had been an extremely sophisticated operation of which Taylor had been the organiser.