Cocaine-Smuggling Ship Worker Jailed

A cruise liner worker who attempted to smuggle £432,000 worth of cocaine hidden inside his shoes has been jailed for eight years.

Barman Herman Anthony Spence was stopped by UK Border Agency officers at Southampton docks on July 16 this year after arriving on the MV Grand Princess, a cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.

The 46-year-old Jamaican, of Montego Bay, was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court on October the 31st after pleading guilty to drug smuggling at a previous hearing on October 10.

The court heard that officers questioned him and searched his rucksack. They became suspicious of the weight and raised insoles of trainers found inside the bag.

Approximately two kilos of cocaine was discovered in four packages shaped as shoe insoles.

Two packages were found under the trainer insoles and the other two were loose in a plactic bag inside the rucksack. The drugs had a purity of 65 per cent and an estimated street value of £432,000.

Spence was also carrying £1,200 in cash and a further £15,000 was found in his cabin.

He was arrested and interviewed under caution. During this he told officers that he offered to deliver the drugs to the UK as a favour.

Tim Fleming, senior investigating officer from the UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Investigation unit at Southampton, said:

"The concealment technique used by Spence shows the lengths to which some people will go in attempt to avoid detection by our officers.

“As this detection shows, our officers are on constant alert, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep class A drugs and other banned substances out of the UK.

“We are determined to prevent this terrible trade which can have such a destructive impact on the lives of so many.”

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