A convicted drug dealer who used a three week Caribbean cruise as a cover to bring cocaine worth more than £200,000 into the UK has been jailed for nine-and-a-half years.
Kevin Enright, 55, from Dunstable, was intercepted by Border Force officers as he disembarked a cruise liner at Southampton Docks on 31 October 2017.
As they searched his luggage, they found traces of drugs within a false lining of two suitcases, one of which had been inside the other.
In total, there was almost three kilos of cocaine, which if cut and sold in the UK would have had a potential value of around £220,000.
Enright denied knowledge of the drugs, but NCA investigators were able to prove that he had collected the cases in St Lucia, and that he had been in contact with others suspected of involvement in the importation, including one man who was to have collected the drugs following his arrival.
He has a previous conviction for drug dealing, for which he was sentenced to four years in prison in 2005.
During a two-and-a-half day trial at Southampton Crown Court, Enright claimed that the cruise had been paid for following a win on the horses, and that he had innocently purchased the suitcases.
But on Thursday 5 April, a jury took just an hour to find him guilty of importing class A drugs, and he was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years on the same day.
Bob Holness, NCA senior officer, said: “Our investigation involved liaison with law enforcement partners in the Caribbean, and through that, we were able to prove that Enright’s story was made up.
“It became clear that he had contacts with others involved in drug trafficking on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Cocaine fuels violence and exploitation on our streets, and Enright’s role was a crucial one in a long criminal chain. That is reflected in the sentence he received.”
Emma Porter, Director of Border Force South, said: “This is another excellent example of Border Force officers preventing Class A drugs from ending up on the streets of the UK, where they cause significant harm to both individuals and communities.
“Working with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other law enforcement partners we will continue to tackle smuggling of all kinds and bring those responsible to justice.”