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Drugs and church don’t mix

Editorial Staff

Dec 5, 2022

Source Loop News

Three members of a criminal group who used a Christian ministry as a smokescreen for importing 400 kilogrammes of cannabis into the United Kingdom (UK) from Jamaica, have been convicted.

The trio – Dalton Anderson, 50; Alvin Russell, 45; and 64-year-old Sinclair Tucker – were all convicted last week following a five-week trial in the Birmingham Crown Court, UK.

All three were charged with conspiracy to import class B drugs (cannabis), with Anderson also charged with possession with intent to supply class B drugs after five kilogrammes of cannabis was found at his home following his arrest.

They are expected to be sentenced on January 27, 2023.

A statement from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), a copy of which was obtained by Loop News, said the three men were investigated after the Birmingham-based organisation, Vision Christian Ministries (VCM), was used to smuggle the drugs.

If sold in the UK, the substance would be worth up to £2 million.

“The cannabis was trafficked from Jamaica to the UK via Birmingham Airport, and had been packed into sealed tins of callaloo, a Jamaican green vegetable, and ackee fruit,” the statement said.

The substance was shipped in three separate consignments addressed to the religious organisation between March and May of 2017, and were subsequently seized by UK’s Border Force.

Anderson, Russell and Tucker were arrested at Birmingham Airport on May 23, 2017, following an inspection of the third consignment that arrived from Jamaica.

“NCA investigators established that they organised the imports and collected the drugs from the airport,” the statement said.

“Anderson and Russell also spent some time in Jamaica when the importations were made, handling money and providing shipping documentation to VCM via Tucker,” it added.

According to NCA, Anderson was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday, November 29, while Russell and Tucker were found guilty the following day.

In commenting on the convictions, NCA Operations Manager, Rick Mackenzie, said: “Anderson, Tucker and Russell cynically used a Christian ministry as a smokescreen to import huge quantities of cannabis into the UK.

“They wrongly believed that this would put them beyond the reach of the National Crime Agency and our law enforcement partners,” he was quoted as saying.

For Assistant Director at inland border command for Border Force, Paul Harper, the effort to stop £2 million worth of drugs reaching Britain’s streets and causing further harm to communities was “outstanding work”.

He added that, “This seizure, and others like it, send a clear message to anyone considering attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we remain committed and prepared to tackle drug supply chains.”

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