Met bust drug-smuggling gang who had recruited Border Force officer to bring haul from France

Border Force official Kevin Smith was working with the drug smugglers (Met)
Border Force official Kevin Smith was working with the drug smugglers (Met)

The Met has smashed a cross channel drug smuggling ring who had recruited a Border Force official who helped them smuggle drugs into the UK.

Gang members set up a network to get drugs past customs with some headed for sale on the streets of south London.

Kevin Smith, 37, from Portsmouth, who had been working for the Border Force, admitted to misconduct in a public office.

The court heard officers established that Smith, who worked in Portsmouth and was responsible for searching vehicles and checking passports – was working with the gang.

Together with the National Crime Agency (NCA), Met officers built a case against the criminal network showing the drugs had been destined for the streets of south London.

Caprice Thompson, 46, Brixton, was found guilty of conspiracy to Import Class A drugs along with Sinan Baki, 49, from Clapham. David Johnson, 51, also from Clapham, previously pleaded guilty to all charges including conspiracy to Import Class A drugs.

All four will be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on 7 June.

MDMA seized from gang smuggling across the channel (Met police)
MDMA seized from gang smuggling across the channel (Met police)

Detective Inspector Lydia Stephens of the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Command said: “These individuals were heavily involved in the large-scale supply of Class A drugs in London that severely impacts our communities, drives violence and can lead to vulnerable people and children being criminally exploited across the city.

“Apprehending them successfully is the result of months of hard work and dedication on the part of a team of highly skilled Met detectives, supported by colleagues from the National Crime Agency and Border Force.

“We are committed to bringing organised crime groups to justice and making London safer.”

The court had heard officers observed the routes taken by members of the group, including Thompson, who was picking up MDMA batches from France and used a data-led approach to obtain phone evidence and show how the group were organising drug deliveries.

Detectives downloaded hundreds of messages across multiple encrypted apps creating a timeline to show the different drop off points in south London, mainly near Brixton and Clapham. T

he team also worked with ferry companies and car rental units to show the direct routes being used to bring the drugs directly into the area.

Through these investigative techniques, the Met determined the distinctive roles of each member of the network.

Thompson was arrested by officers on 26 August after weeks of careful observation of her movements.

She was intercepted in a rental car on the way back to London from the port of Portsmouth where that day, Smith had allowed her to pass through a Border Force booth. When she was arrested, the car was searched and 15kg of MDMA were found in the boot with a street value of £400,000.

Met officers arrested Baki and Johnson on the same night where further significant quantities of drugs were found hidden in their addresses and vehicles, including behind the steering wheel of Baki’s car.

Dave Rock from the NCA’s Anti-Corruption Unit said: “Tackling insider threat at the border is a priority for the NCA and our partners because it threatens the security of the public.

“Kevin Smith sought to use his privileged access and knowledge of systems and processes to aid this crime group who were able to bring large amounts of class A into the UK unchecked."

“This operation demonstrated co-operation in action with the NCA, MPS and Border Force anti-corruption officers working together to prevent these drugs reaching the criminal market.”