HAUL: Huge packets of cocaine found hidden behind the driver's seat (NCA)
TWO gangsters who tried to get £2.6 million worth of cocaine down the M1 motorway hidden in a van have been caged.
Dean Melody, 46, and Arthur Boxall, 52, were observed by police travelling north on the M6 motorway in two separate white transit vans towards Skelmersdale in Lancashire on October 25 2018.
The following morning, both vans travelled back down the M6 and were stopped just south of the Toddington services on the M1.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) spokesman said: "During a search of Melody’s van, officers found a locked chest behind the driver’s seat with a false compartment. Within this, 33 vacuum packed kilo blocks of cocaine were recovered."
The operation was carried out jointly by the NCA, often dubbed Britain's FBI, and the Met Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).
FOUND GUILTY: Arthur Boxall (NCA)
Boxall’s van was also searched and an encrypted mobile phone was seized. Both were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
When tested, the cocaine was found to have a purity of between 60 percent and 95 percent with an estimated street value of more than £2.6m.
Melody, from High Street, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty before the trial began but Boxall, from Mawney Road, Romford, east London, was found guilty by a jury at Kingston Crown Court last month.
They were both sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Friday and sentenced to 12 and 20 years respectively.
ADMISSION: Dean Melody (NCA)
They are likely to serve half their sentences before being eligible for release.
Matt McMillan, OCP Operations Manager, said: “Disrupting the supply of class A drugs and the violence it fuels is a priority for the NCA and our partners.
"Drugs trafficking is a major source of revenue for organised crime groups, many of whom are involved in other criminality, and profits from illegal drugs are used to fund other criminal operations.
“The comprehensive investigation conducted by the Organised Crime Partnership has successfully disrupted an organised criminal network involved in the large scale supply of class A drugs.
"We have ensured that the 33 kilos of cocaine that Boxall and Melody were found with will not get onto the streets of the UK.”