Five remanded after ‘half a tonne of cocaine’ seized from private jet

Two bricklaying brothers were among five men who appeared in court charged as part of an alleged conspiracy to traffic cocaine with a street value of £50 million into the UK on a private jet from Colombia.

Feb 6, 2018

Two bricklaying brothers were among five men who appeared in court charged as part of an alleged conspiracy to traffic cocaine with a street value of £50 million into the UK on a private jet from Colombia. Martin James Neil, 48, and Stephen John Neil, 53, were arrested last month along with Spaniards Victor Franco-Lorenzo, 40, and 55-year-old Jose Ramon Miguelez-Botas and Italian national Alessandro Iembo, 28. They were held after Border Force officers found 500kg of the Class A drug hidden in 15 suitcases on the twin-engined aircraft flown into Britain from Bogota. All five were remanded in custody after a brief preliminary hearing at Uxbridge Magistrates` Court on January 31. They will next appear at Isleworth Crown Court in west London on March 1. National Crime Agency operations manager Siobhan Micklethwaite described the haul as “one of the largest flown into the UK by plane in many years”, adding: “This seizure by Border Force represents a major blow to organised crime. “We estimate that once cut and sold on the streets in the UK it would have had a potential value in excess of £50 million. “Our investigations into this attempted importation are continuing.”

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