Jail for duo who hid heroin in boxes of bacon
Two men who smuggled £3 million of heroin disguised as bacon have been jailed for a total of 31 years.
Some 63 kilos of the drug were found in a van arriving at Dover docks.
Philip Tasker, 43, and Darren Hunter, 41, were jailed for 18 and 13 years respectively by Canterbury Crown Court.
The court was told Tasker was stopped returning from Belgium, by UK Border Agency officers at Dover on October 17 last year.
Officers searched the van and discovered 126 packages, which tested positive for heroin.
He was arrested and charged but denied all knowledge of the drugs, saying he was simply bringing back “dodgy” bacon. He was found guilty and jailed on October 1, 2009 following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
Further investigations by HMRC officers led to the arrest of Hunter, who has two previous convictions for drug smuggling offences, and had masterminded Tasker’s trip to Belgium to smuggle the heroin into the UK.
He was arrested outside his Merseyside home on January 13 and pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court on March 23, with his sentencing delayed until now.
After the sentencing, Malcolm Bragg, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, said: “This attempt to disguise heroin as a load of bacon didn’t fool detection officers and investigators, who once again showed their determination to bring criminals to justice.
“This dangerous Class A drug devastates lives and communities, as it is always linked to wider criminality. HMRC investigators and their UKBA colleagues are determined to stop drugs reaching the UK streets.”
Confiscation proceedings are in place to secure the proceeds of this crime for the public purse.