Court imposes lengthy sentences on drug smugglers

Hefty sentences totalling 31.5 years were handed down to one man and two women convicted of drug smuggling charges today at Manchester Crown Court.

Rodcliffe Burns Smith, 35, of Rowley Regis was jailed for nine years for cocaine smuggling and two years for cannabis smuggling. His accomplices Nyhaieke Karlene James, aged 23 from Birmingham, was jailed for seven years for cocaine smuggling and 18 months for cannabis smuggling, while Deborah Henrietta Clarke, aged 28 also from Birmingham, received ten years for cocaine smuggling and two years for cannabis smuggling.

The three were part of a drug smuggling conspiracy uncovered at Manchester airport on 22 December 2003. Customs officers found 12.7 kilos of cannabis worth approximately £33,146 and 1.37 kilos of pure cocaine valued at £141,149 in luggage as James and Clarke returned from Montego Bay in Jamaica. Following further investigation Smith was arrested and charged along with his female couriers.

Customs Head of Detection North West Jeremy Lee said: "These lengthy sentences demonstrate how seriously crimes involving harmful drugs are viewed. This highlights Customs commitment to helping reduce the availability of Class A drugs in the UK".

Mr Lee urged anyone that knows of any suspicious activities which may be linked to drug smuggling to get in touch with Customs on 24-hour confidential freephone 0800 59 5000.


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