UK’s biggest drug bust: Two convicted of smuggling £512M worth of cocaine
(Reproduced from Glasgow Live)
The men behind an ‘unprecedented’ cocaine smuggling operation were sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow, UK today.
Mumin Sahin, 47, and Emin Ozmen, 50, were found with 3.2 tonnes of the drug, worth £512million when they were stopped by police off Scotland’s north-east coast in April last year.
Sahin was the captain of the boat with Ozmen second in command.
The huge haul of high purity cocaine ranging from 58 and 74 percent, was found in a ballast tank at the front of the ship.
The pair’s trial at the High Court in Glasgow lasted for 12 weeks.
They were convicted today of smuggling cocaine and of being concerned in the supply of the drug. Both men convicted are first offenders. Judge Lord Kinclaven has remanded them in custody until they are sentenced next month.
Four other men; Kayacan Dalgakirin, 54; Mustafa Guven, 48; Umit Colakel, 29; and Ibrahim Dag, 48, were cleared of the allegations after the jury returned not proven verdicts.
Mustafa Ceviz, 55; Abdulkadir Cirik, 32; and Muhammet Seckin, 27, had been cleared earlier in the trial.
The smuggling took place between February and April last year.
The MV Hamal travelled from Istanbul via Tenerife to South America then onto the North Sea.
French customs had tipped off UK border officials that there were drugs on the vessel and it was intercepted in international waters by the Royal Navy warship HMS Somerset and Border Force officials.
It was then brought back to Aberdeen Harbour.
Police drugs expert Jurgen Wahla told the trial: “It is a massive importation – unprecedented in what I’ve seen in my experience.”
He was also asked what were the ‘recognised trade routes’ of shipping cocaine from where it is grown.
He told the jury: “It is now south of Venezuela and Guyana because of a lot of enforcement activity by the USA patrolling the coast.
“Enforcement crackdowns – particularly in Columbia – and increased US enforcement have escalated the value of countries such as Guyana in the global drugs market.”
In her closing speech, prosecutor Ashley Edwards told the jury those guilty “played a part in concealing the drugs and allowing them to be transported”.