Corrupt insider and two accomplices jailed for shipping £4.3m worth of crystal meth to Australia

A woman and two men who sent crystal meth to Australia, where it would have been worth up to £4.3million at street level, have been jailed.

Yvonne Stewart, 55, of York Road, South Croydon, Kevin Filkins, 54, of Deerleap Lane, Sevenoaks, and Robert Hamilton, 53, of Doveney Close, Orpington, were found to be involved in a drug trafficking operation in January 2023.

Filkins, Stewart and Hamilton were convicted on January 13, 2023, after a trial at Croydon Crown Court. 

They were sentenced to 12 years, 12 years and 13 years and six months, respectively, at the same court on Friday.

The sentencing followed an investigation by the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) – a joint National Crime Agency and Met police unit.

X-ray of crystal meth picked up by the Australian Federal Police (Picture: NCA)

After 24 kilograms of crystal meth was seized in Australia, the country’s Border Force and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) established that the shipment had come from the UK.

OCP investigators discovered that the drugs had been sent from Croydon on June 25, 2021, with CCTV images identifying Stewart, who was working in the cargo sector at the time. 

The images also captured Filkins sending a shipment labelled “two glass Buddhas” to New South Wales, Australia.

Stewart was responsible for the security inspection of the item. The package did not contain anything except the drugs, which were not concealed, proving Stewart had not checked the contents.

The box of crystal meth which had been labelled by Filkins as “two glass Buddhas” (Picture: NCA)

Phone records showed that, at key times, Stewart had been on the phone to Hamilton, who in turn had been in touch with Filkins. 

Hamilton acted as the middleman, putting Filkins in touch with Stewart who could facilitate the exportation of the drugs.

OCP investigators found that Stewart, Filkins and Hamilton had previously sent two other shipments to Australia, on June 2 and June 24, 2021.

The named senders on all three shipments were individuals who had their passports stolen. 

NCA and AFP officers making the arrests of the drug gang (Picture: NCA)

One of the consignments was paid for using a card registered to one of those individuals. 

This card, along with one of the stolen passports, were found in a search of Filkins’ home.

Detective Superintendent Callum Hughes, AFP senior officer in London, said: “This outcome should serve as a warning to those who seek to undertake this type of criminal activity, the risk of lengthy imprisonment far outweighs the short term benefits of your actions.”

Pictured top: From left, Yvonne Stewart, Kevin Filkins and Robert Hamilton (Picture: NCA)

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