Hertfordshire man caught practicing drugs in English Channel boat

Three men have admitted their role in a Class A drugs plot after a boat they were traveling on was intercepted in the English Channel. Thomas Snell, 31, of no fixed abode, and Edward Duggin, 33, of Norris Way, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to conspiring to fraudulently circumvent the import ban on a Class A controlled drug – cocaine – contrary to the Custom and Excise Act 1979 at a hearing at Southampton Crown Court on Wednesday (30/3).

Justine Romaraog, 22, of Talfourd Way, Redhill, Surrey, also pleaded guilty to the same offense at a hearing in the same court yesterday (31/3). The convictions follow an investigation by the South East Regional Organized Crime Unit (SEROCU).

The UK Border Force boarded an Azimut 50 Motor Cruiser called Bubble E on which the defendants were traveling in the English Channel off Falmouth, Cornwall on October 14 last year. An investigation has been launched by officers from SEROCU, assisted by the National Crime Agency, Devon and Cornwall Police, the South West Regional Organized Crime Unit and Hampshire Police.

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He found that the defendants had been on a “practical errand” in connection with the collection of drug packets. Traces of white powder, later confirmed to be cocaine, were found on board. The defendants were arrested and subsequently charged on October 15 in connection with the plot.

Detective Sergeant Dan Hope of SEROCU, said: “Snell, Duggin and Romaraog have accepted their part in this drug conspiracy by pleading guilty. This follows a complex investigation by officers working for the Southeast Regional Organized Crime Unit with the support of numerous law enforcement agencies and maritime experts, which has led to overwhelming evidence. against them. The convictions demonstrate that criminals have absolutely no place to hide – we will continue to use our specialist abilities to work with our partners to ensure that we tackle the threat Class A drugs pose to our communities.

Snell, Duggin and Romaraog have been remanded in custody to be sentenced at Southampton Crown Court on a date yet to be set.

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