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Two men have today (Tuesday, 18 February) been sentenced for importing 17kgs of herbal cannabis into the UK.
Tien Le, aged 32 (26/12/1980) of no fixed abode was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment and Loc Tan Nguyen, aged 54 (29/09/1958) of Tennison Road, South Norwood was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, at Croydon Crown Court after they both pleaded guilty to importation of controlled drugs. Nguyen was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work.
On 14 April 2013, a consignment of two parcels addressed to a property in South Norwood was intercepted by German border control officers in Cologne. The parcels were found to contain 32 packages of herbal cannabis, weighing a total of approximately 17kgs.
The parcels were forwarded on to Heathrow and collected by Border Force officers, who then passed the items to officers from the Croydon Crime Squad.
Police seized the drugs - which were later estimated to have a street value of approximately £200,000 - and officers arranged for a controlled delivery of dummy parcels to be made to the address.
The delivery was made on 19 April 2013 and the parcels were signed for by Le on behalf of Nguyen.
Officers then executed a search warrant at the address shortly after the delivery was made. Both Le and Nguyen were arrested on suspicion of importing controlled drugs and the two dummy parcels were recovered from the property by officers.
Both men were bailed whilst further enquiries were conducted. The pair were eventually charged in September 2013 with importation of class B drugs - namely cannabis.
Both Nguyen and Le pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court on 17 January and were sentenced as above on 18 February. Le admitted that he had arranged and organised the delivery, with Nguyen allowing his address to be used as the destination for the delivery.
DC Kieran Given, from Croydon Crime Squad, who investigated the case said:
“This was a great example of working closely with our partners from Border Force here in the UK along with colleagues in Germany to identify and bring to justice two men involved in the importation of drugs into the UK. Although they both initially tried to deny their involvement, the weight of evidence meant they had little choice but to plead guilty at court.
“The presence of drugs seriously harms our communities - whether it is through the direct impact on the health of those using the drugs, or the impact of crime and antisocial behaviour that is linked to the supply and use of drugs. We remain determined to tackle those involved in the supply or use of drugs and would encourage members of the public to contact their local police if they suspect the presence of drugs in their community - we can and will take action.”
Brian Hill, Acting Director of Border Force at Heathrow, said:
“Cases like this show how Border Force officers at Heathrow work closely with the Metropolitan Police and colleagues in other countries to keep illegal drugs and other banned substances out of the UK.
“Those who attempt to smuggle drugs should be in no doubt that they will be targeted and brought to justice."