Victoria Smith-Swain and Rhianydd Clement defend in the largest drug seizure prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom to date
November 14, 2023
Exchange Chambers’ Victoria Smith-Swain leading junior and Rhianydd Clement junior, instructed by Liberty Solicitors, defended the first Defendant on the indictment in the largest drug seizure prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom. The case involved a £1.59 billion conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine and crystal methamphetamine.
The Defendant was arrested in September 2022 and within her address in Leeds, West Yorkshire 141kg of cocaine and 33kg of crystal methamphetamine were located, with a combined street value of around £19 million. The cocaine had been packaged in 1kg blocks, with some containing the logo of a prolific Mexican drug cartel. The crystal methamphetamine had been vacuum-packed using machines found within the address.
The Defendant pleaded guilty during the trial at Sheffield Crown Court earlier this year following late service of evidence. The trial had involved careful consideration of cell site evidence, data from multiple mobile telephones, online banking records, forensic evidence and surveillance.
Six Defendants were sentenced during a two-day sentencing hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on 9th and 10th November 2023. Following extensive mitigation, HHJ Slater sentenced the Defendant to 15 years’ custody, having taken a starting point of 18 years’ custody and reducing this for mitigation and was persuaded to award credit for her guilty plea despite that being entered weeks into the trial.
Other Defendants involved in the conspiracy received sentences of 20 years and 12 years’ custody respectively. A further Defendant was sentenced for Possession with Intent to Supply Class A drugs and received a sentence of 6 years’ custody. One Defendant pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of an organised crime group and converting criminal property and received sentence of 3 years’ and another pleaded to participating in the activities of an organised crime group and received a sentence of 2 years’ respectively.