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£10m drug smugglers face jail after naval chase in Channel

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:29 05 October 2010

THE last members of a £10 million drug smuggling network caught 15 miles out to sea by the Royal Navy are being sentenced this-morning. Four of the gang back before a judge to find out their fate. Another two are already inside

By Mike Brooke

THE last members of a £10 million drug smuggling network caught 15 miles out to sea by the Royal Navy are being sentenced this-morning (Monday) in East London.

Four of the gang of six are back before a judge at 10.30am to find out their fate, gang boss Patrick Walsh and accomplices John Dunlop, David Coxon and Douglas Wood. Another two are already inside.

Walsh and Dunlop were carrying out reconnaissance into cash transit delivery routes, but were being watched by the Flying Squad.

Then Walsh 'upped' the stakes with a conspiracy to smuggle in cocaine from South America.

He made trips to the Caribbean, sometimes with Coxon and Wood, to buy a $40,500 yacht.

Coxon and Wood then set sail for Guyana, dodging customs, where they picked up 91 kilos of quality cocaine.

Back in East London, William Cannon was seen handing a plastic bag to Joseph Gorgin on August 21, 2008, who then met Dunlop in the Parkside Café in White Horse Road in Stepney.

Gorgin and Dunlop left the café and drove off, but armed cops stopped their car at 1.20am in Barking Road at Plaistow.

Guns and live ammunition were found in the plastic bag Gorgin had been carrying earlier.

Walsh was seen two weeks later putting a gun in his pocket while parking a van near a petrol station he had previously sussed out.

Police moved in to arrest him when the gun fell out of his trouser leg while he was being searched. Inside the van were two balaclavas, laundry bags, gloves and a large bottle of urine.

William Cannon was arrested later the same day, possessing keys which opened a lock-up in East Ham where a revolver, ammunition, holster, blank passport and other counterfeit documents were found.

A week later, Coxon and Wood were sailing back to Britain when they were stopped 15 miles out by the Navy and UK Borders Agency off the Devon coast at 5am on September 12, 2008. They were caught red-handed with 91 kilos of cocaine with a 'street' value of £10m.

Walsh, 48, from Watford, Herts, has admitted charges of conspiracy to importing cocaine, possess a firearm and ammunition and to commit a cash transit robbery. He is being sentenced today at Woolwich crown court.

Dunlop, 52, from Sussex, convicted last May for firearms offences, got eight years, but was further convicted in October of conspiracy to rob and awaits a second sentence.

Coxon, 54, from Newcastle, and Wood, 59, from Sandwich in Kent, have both admitted drugs conspiracy and await sentencing.

Cannon, 49, from Rainham in Essex, and Gorgin, 28, from Sussex, are already serving five years each for firearms offences. Two others were acquitted.


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