Daniel Kelly and Steven Gilhooly, both 43, were caught trying to smuggle nearly 3kg of cocaine from St Lucia after learning how to reseal tins.
A thorough investigation by Metropolitan Police officers and the National Crime Agency revealed that Kelly and Gilhooly had purchased a machine can sealer and blank tin lids, allowing them to reseal tin cans.
On 16 December 2018, both Kelly and Gilhooly had flown from London Gatwick to St Lucia, where on arrival they told officials that they were entering the country for a holiday and it was recorded that they had the can sealer within their luggage.
Officers established that the two parcels later found to contain cocaine were sent from a St. Lucian post office by Kelly, who used a fake driving licence that had his image but false personal details as identification.
In total, 2.742kg of cocaine was recovered by officers with an estimated street value of £250,000.
DI Matthew Webb from the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime teams said: “This should send a clear and strong message to those intent on penetrating our borders that offences of this nature are taken very seriously and we will leave no stone unturned in bringing them to justice.
“The miserable effect that drugs supply has on our communities is undeniable and inextricably linked to violence within our communities.
“Both men were willing to take such risk with this offending – thinking they were beyond the reach of the law and hoping to monetise profits.
“Instead, they now face hefty prison sentences. I hope this provides them the opportunity to reflect on their behaviour and demonstrates that crime doesn’t pay.”
NCA Branch Commander Mark McCormack said:“These men thought they could circumvent the UK’s border controls by utilising the fast parcel system, but this is a threat we and our law enforcement partners like Border Force and the MPS are alive to.”
Daniel Kelly, 43, of no fixed address was sentenced to six and a half years’ imprisonment for fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of a Class A drug.
Steven Gilhooly, 43, of no fixed address was sentenced to eight and a half years’ imprisonment for fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of a Class A drug.