Nothing sadder than a corrupt public servant who breaks his oath to protect society against crime and terror. In England, a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency, Metropolitan Police, and French police was able to catch one such official as he attempted to smuggle guns and drugs into the United Kingdom.
37-year-old Simon Pellett (photo above, left) was found guilty of attempting to smuggle firearms and drugs. The Dover man was on duty when he was arrested by officers from the French National Police on October 6, 2017.
Earlier that day he had collected a work van from his office in Folkestone and got on a Channel Tunnel shuttle service. He was unaware the NCA had placed a listening device in the van. While driving, he was heard making arrangements to rendezvous with other members of the crime group in Loon Plage, between Calais and Dunkirk.
He met 35-year-old Alex Howard (above, right) and 55-year-old David Baker (above, center) for a handover in a supermarket car park. The two men had just placed three holdalls in the back of his van when French officers moved in to arrest them.
The holdalls contained eight pistols, two revolvers, a large quantity of ammunition, 28 kilos of cocaine with a potential street value of £2.8 million, and 6 kilos of heroin with a potential street value of £600,000.
The firearms included self-loading and machine pistols, revolvers, silencers and suitable ammunition. There was also ammunition suitable for a Skorpion sub-machine gun.
Following their arrest all three men were extradited from France back to the United Kingdom. Their trial at Isleworth Crown Court heard how the defendants played a key part in a wider organized criminal network responsible for smuggling drugs and firearms into the country. Pellett was recruited to help them evade border controls, his motivation for involvement being a significant gambling habit.
Investigators believe he would have been paid around £20,000 for the smuggling run.
On Monday, the jury found Pellett and Baker guilty of attempting to import firearms, heroin and cocaine. Pellett was additionally found guilty of misconduct in a public office. The following day Howard was found guilty of drug importation charges but cleared of the firearms charge. All three men will be sentenced on today.
“As a border officer, Pellet’s job was to prevent the illegal importation of goods into the UK, including firearms and drugs,” David Rock from the NCA’s Anti-Corruption Unit said. “He had the power to arrest anyone suspected of being involved in this type of crime, yet his personal greed made him susceptible to corruption and allowed him to be exploited by a UK-based organized crime group.
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