West Midlands businessman attempted to hide 138kg of the drug, with more also found at his home
A drug smuggler who used coconuts to hide almost 140 kilos of herbal cannabis sent from Ghana has been jailed.
Richard Myers, 53, from Smethwick, West Midlands, was arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation after a consignment destined for his business, Soul Foods, was searched.
The container arrived in the UK on 13 July 2018 and, when opened and examined by Border Force officers, contained sacks of coconuts with plastic wrapped herbal cannabis hidden inside the fruits.
The drugs weighed almost 138 kilos. A further block of cannabis weighing 497 grams was found at Myers’ home.
The drugs would have been worth £650,000 if sold on the streets of the UK.
The NCA investigation found Myers had travelled to Ghana to see the drugs loaded before returning to the UK.
Myers had previously been convicted of drug smuggling in 1995 when cannabis was found concealed in his false bottomed suitcase.
He had also been convicted of importing drugs into Sweden and possession of cannabis when he tried to return to the UK from Jamaica with 10.45kg and 4.54kg in his luggage on two occasions in 2002 and 2003.
Myers was interviewed by NCA officers and refused to answer any questions about Soul Foods. He was subsequently charged with importing cannabis and possession with intent to supply cannabis.
He denied the charges but was found guilty following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Myers was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment at the same court on 20 August.
NCA senior investigating officer Paul Boniface said:
“Myers travelled to Ghana to ensure these drugs were on their way, hiding them in coconuts in the hope they would seem to be a legitimate business transaction.
“This was not his first attempt at importation and Myers appeared intent on bringing cannabis onto the streets of the UK.
“The NCA will continue to work to tackle the drugs trade and will work with our Border Force partners to stop people like Myers from fuelling illegal and exploitative criminal networks.”