Two men who attempted to import £43,000 worth of drugs into Cheshire have been jailed.
Jarry Darboe, 37, of Hawthorn Road, Little Sutton and John Richards, 50, of Bourne Mill Drive, Birmingham, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday 24 July where they were sentenced to a nearly 4 years in prison.
Their downfall came thanks to a joint investigation by Cheshire Police and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) which began in June 2014 when the UKBA intercepted a parcel from South Africa that contained 4.48kg of cannabis.
The parcel was addressed to a resident on Sumpter Pathway, Chester. Checks were conducted at the address, where it was established that the parcel was addressed to a former tenant and the home was now occupied by Darboe, who claimed he knew nothing about the delivery.
However, suspicions were aroused once again in October 2014 when the UKBA intercepted a second package containing 4.22kg of Cannabis resin which was destined for Sumpter Pathway.
After making the discovery the UKBA contacted colleagues at Cheshire Police, who intercepted the parcel as it was delivered at Darboe’s address on 13th October.
At the time of delivery, Darboe was working in his Chester hair salon on Brook Street but, having been told that his parcel was about to arrive, he swiftly arranged for a member of his family to return home to sign for the parcel.
However, the man sent to collect the parcel got more than he was expecting when undercover officers swooped to arrest him on suspicion of drugs offences, before searching the address.
Officers also conducted a warrant Darboe’s Brook Street salon and arrested him on suspicion of importing Class B drugs. During the warrant officers recovered a number of items, including drugs paraphernalia and multiple mobile phones.
Darboe denied any involvement, claiming that he believed the parcel contained hair products that his friend, ‘Tony Mendy’ from Birmingham, had asked to be delivered to Darboe’s address.
Officers quickly established that ‘Tony Mendy’ was actually John Richards, who was swiftly arrested at his Birmingham address and brought in for questioning in Cheshire. Like Darboe, Richards also denied any involvement in the drugs.
However, after conducting extensive enquires, officers were able to gather enough evidence to charge both Darboe and Richards with drugs offences.
On appearing in court Richards pleaded guilty to both conspiracy to import Class B drugs and possession with intent to supply Class B drugs. Darboe continued to deny any involvement in the drugs but, following trail at Chester Crown Court, he was found guilty of conspiracy to import Class B drugs.
On Friday 28 July the pair appeared at Chester Crown Court where Darboe sentenced to 2 years 3 months in prison and Richards was jailed for 1 year 8 months.
Detective Sergeant Nick Henderson, who led the investigation, said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this case, which has led to the removal of over £43,000 worth of drugs from the streets of Chester.
“Throughout the investigation the pair denied any involvement in the importation of drugs but, thanks to the overwhelming evidence gathered by the team here at Chester, the pair are now facing the consequences of their actions.
“We are committed to tackling drugs related crime and we will do everything that we can to achieve justice and make our communities safer for everyone.”
Richard Riley, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, added; “Darboe was importing large quantities of cannabis from a supplier in South Africa and claimed he thought they were hair products for his salon.
“The intercepted parcels contained cannabis with a street value of around £43,000 – a substantial amount. It became clear that he was passing on part of the delivery to John Richards, who again pretended to not know that the packages contained drugs.
“Yet again, these offenders thought they’d found a way around our drugs laws but the work of the Border Agency, Cheshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service has put paid to that and both are now facing the consequences of their actions.”