Two brothers and their accomplices guilty of smuggling £2.1million worth of drugs


Two brothers and their accomplices have been found guilty of smuggling £2.1million worth of cannabis from Spain, after they were watched unloading it ready for sale.

Four men who drove three-quarters of a tonne of the drugs into the UK will be sentenced next month following an operation led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Brothers Kevin, 57 and John Downes, 58, both of Llewellyn Street, Bermondsey, and Brian Chapman, 64, of Enid Street, Bermondsey, pleaded guilty at earlier court hearings to conspiracy to import controlled drugs into the UK.

Thomas Abrahams, 73, of Falcon Gardens, Sheerness, Kent, was found guilty at the Old Bailey on June 28 following a two-week trial.

The men were arrested following an operation led by NCA officers and police from Kent and Essex.

The drugs were delivered from Spain to a fictional company called ‘Levante European’, based at a rented industrial unit in Lower Road, Sheerness, Kent on September 30, 2016.

NCA officers had the area under surveillance and watched as the drugs were unloaded from the van by John Downes. Brian Chapman and brothers Kevin and John Downes were subsequently arrested, with Abrahams being arrested the following month.

Paul Green, NCA Operation Manager, said: “This is a significant disruption of an organised crime network intent on bringing illegal drugs into the UK.

“The cannabis had a street value of more than £2.1 m and no doubt the proceeds would have funded further criminality.

“We take all importations of illegal drugs seriously and this joint operation with colleagues from Kent and Essex Police has prevented a substantial quantity of drugs from ending up on our streets.”

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