A man was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for smuggling Class A drugs into the UK. The load included a shipment of toys for children.
Chris Michaelides, 52, was sentenced Friday at Woolwich Crown court after previously pleading guilty for a number of offences, according to the Metropolitan Police.
Michaelides, Chigwell (Essex), was arrested following a cross agency operation that degraded an encrypted communications system.
Michaelides sent messages indicating that he was in contact and involved in the importation cocaine.
The Met stated that his conversations showed that the criminal enterprises were ongoing for about six years.
Chris Michaelides, 52, pictured, was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday after previously pleading guilty to a string of offences related to the importation of class A drugs
After a series of raids on the locations of the gang, officers were able to seize large amounts of cash.
This Steyr Pieper pocket pistol from the 1930s was one of the items that police recovered.
One arrangement involved a lorry transporting children’s bricks and 50kg of high-purity cocaine to be imported into the UK for distribution in April 2020.
The vehicle was intercepted and the criminals attempted to set up another similar importation in June. Police said that 37kg of cocaine was believed to have been imported.
Michaelides was detained on July 1 and charged in conspiracy to evade prohibition on importation and conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.
He was also charged for possessing a number illegal items, including a passport fraudulently obtained and a prohibited weapon.
The National Crime Agency intercepted several large shipments of cocaine like this one.
Specialist Crime Detective Inspector Lee Byne stated: “Thanks to great partnership work, the evidence that we were able to collect against Michaelides is so overwhelming that he could not choose but to plead guilty.”
‘Michaelides was an integral part of this criminal network that had been importing large quantities of class A drugs, hidden in innocent shipments including toys for children, for many years.
“The drug he helped to import to Britain over those years has no doubt caused many deaths and devastated many communities.
“The firearms and weapons found at Michaelides’ home once again demonstrate the undisputed link between drugs and violence.
“This is why we continue to disrupt all routes of drug supply as a central part of our work to combat violence on London’s streets.”