Highbury man part of gang jailed for importing drugs disguised as fruit and veg

The gang painted the drugs to make them look like fruit

The gang painted the drugs to make them look like fruit - Credit: Archant

A Highbury man is among a gang of drug dealers jailed for importing cocaine and cannabis disguised as fruit and veg.

Luis Restrepo

Luis Restrepo - Credit: Archant

Luis Restrepo, 40, of Beresford Road, was locked up for seven years yesterday after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

In January 2015 officers stopped Barrington Bennett after he picked up boxes from a freight company in Southall. The cops found bags of dried fruit and nuts labelled Fancy Island Mix but further analysis revealed they were actually rocks of crack cocaine that had been coloured orange to look like papaya.

His partner in crime Jarnail Singh was nicked the following day after he made a delivery of more boxes to Restrepo’s home in Beresford Road.

When the house was searched police found 33.8kg of herbal cannabis disguised as yams, which were hidden among real yams, in the delivery boxes.

Cannabis disguised as yams

Cannabis disguised as yams - Credit: Archant

A further shipment of 36kgs of cannabis, again disguised as yams, was seized by Border Force officers at Gatwick, which was being sent to Tazio Heath at the same Southall freight company.

Donovan Bailey, owner a recording studio in Reading was also arrested after officers found 22 rolls of herbal cannabis at his studio.

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Det Con Catherine Pearson, from the Met’s Organised Crime Command, said: “This police operation successfully dismantled a sophisticated crime network that was regularly importing drugs into the UK disguised as food.”

All five men pleaded guilty to various drug offences and were jailed for a total of 38 years at Isleworth Crown Court.