Wednesday 22 May 2019

Gang jailed after cartel plot to smuggle €3m of drugs into Dublin foiled

Haul linked to associates of Graham 'The Wig' Whelan
Haul linked to associates of Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Three men jailed for attempting to smuggle over €3.3m of drugs into Dublin were working for a major Kinahan cartel trafficker.

The plot was busted by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Metropolitan Police's Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) last June, leading to three men being jailed for a total of 27 years at a Liverpool court yesterday.

Christopher Rigg (52), Wayne Sudbury (40) and Artur Jaku-Graham (32) had previously pleaded guilty to drug offences connected to the seizure at Holyhead Port.

The massive shipment, which included 30kg of cocaine, 45kg of cannabis, 15kg of MDMA and 2kg of ketamine, was destined for the Irish market.

Gardai believe the €3.3m haul is linked to associates of Kinahan criminal Graham 'The Wig' Whelan (36).

The Dublin man was previously a key player in the deadly Crumlin/Drimnagh feud and was jailed over an infamous city centre hotel drug bust which was blamed for sparking the bloodshed.

He hit the headlines in November 2017 after an older associate was allegedly assaulted by an Irish sports personality in a Dublin pub.


The NCA said the drug seizure in Holyhead also led to an encrypted mobile phone and over €4,000 in cash being recovered.

On June 4 last year, officers watched as Sudbury drove to an industrial estate in Queensferry, Deeside, and met up with lorry driver Rigg.

Sudbury was seen handing two large boxes to Rigg, who then drove to Holyhead Port in Anglesey.

As Rigg attempted to catch a ferry to Dublin, he was stopped by Border Force officers.

A search of the trailer uncovered the two boxes, which contained 26kg of cocaine, and Rigg was subsequently arrested on suspicion of importing controlled drugs.

The NCA said Sudbury stayed at the industrial estate where he met with Jaku-Graham and handed him a bag containing a further 4kg of cocaine.

After Sudbury drove off, Jaku-Graham was stopped by officers. They searched his vehicle and found packages containing 4kg of cocaine.

He was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the supply of controlled drugs.

Sudbury drove back to Merseyside and was arrested at his home. A search uncovered 45kg of cannabis, 15kg of MDMA, nearly 2kg of ketamine and 2kg of cutting agent hidden in a loft bedroom.

"The OCP, working with the NCA Armed Operations Unit and UK Border Force, have successfully disrupted an organised crime network involved in the large-scale supply of Class A and B drugs," OCP operations manager Matt McMillan said.

"Those involved in the supply of drugs perpetuate the culture of violence and we will use all the specialist capabilities available to us to combat this threat.

"I have no doubt the public are safer now that Rigg, Sudbury and Jaku-Graham are behind bars."

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