Man guilty after £34m of cocaine found hidden in boxes of pineapples at Brandon

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A MAN has been found guilty of being part of an operation to bring £34m of cocaine, hidden in boxes of pineapples, into the UK.

The drugs haul seized at an industrial unit in Brandon, was Suffolk Police’s largest find to date.

Frederick Colverson, 56 of Glasworthy Avenue in London had denied any involvement in the plot. He claimed he was visiting his friend Terence Smith, who rented the industrial units in Highbury Road, when police swooped in at around 9pm on Halloween night last year.

Smith, 57 of Ethelreda Drive in Thetford had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and yesterday a jury sitting at Ipswich Crown Court convicted Colverson of the same charge.

Both men will be sentenced by the court on August 7.

During Colverson’s trial, the jury had been told how paperwork linking Colverson to Smith’s business and the drugs import from Costa Rica, had been found at his house and in his car. 
Police also found more than £5,000 again in his car and home – as well as 11 mobile phones – one of which only had Smith’s number in the contacts.

The jury was also told how the operation only came to light after Smith’s ex partner of nine years Theresa Kennedy contacted Crimestoppers when he ran off with a 21-year-old and boasted how he would soon have £3.3 million while she would have nothing.

Police then mounted an intelligence led operation which tool place over several months, gathering information over the importation of drugs through Felixstowe docks.

They were waiting nearby the Brandon units when Smith and Colverson arrived by car as well as a lorry of pineappples and cocaine.

In total police found 174 kilos of high purity cocaine with a street value of £34 million – Suffolk’s largest seizure of Class A drugs.

Following the trial, Detective Inspector Benny Benford said: “The result at court follows a detailed and lengthy operation involving officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Directorate, Intelligence Directorate and partner agencies including the UK Border Agency and Forensic Services.

“Suffolk Constabulary is committed to tackling and dismantling organised crime groups.

“The discovery of £34m worth of cocaine will have a significant impact and disruption on drug activity and criminality taking place within Suffolk and wider areas of the country.”