Gang Used Fruit And Veg To Smuggle In Drugs
Local man jailed for money laundering as drug ring smashed
A Chiswick man who was found with a six-figure sum in a holdall has been sentenced to six months in prison for money laundering.
Ian Doherty, 47, of Greenend Road, Chiswick, had been found with £160,000 cash.
It followed a major police operation which uncovered a gang using a fruit and vegetable business in London to smuggle drugs into the UK.
A 52-year-old man from Fulham, who was described in court as the "top, top man" in the drugs world, was sentenced to 17 years and four months. Kevin Hanley, who lived in Moore Park Road close to Fulham Broadway admitted smuggling cocaine worth £5 million in consignments of watermelons and pomegranates.
The Old Bailey heard that he also masterminded plots to deal kilos of cannabis and amphetamines and launder millions of pounds in cash.
Hanley was captured at the Molly Malone's Irish bar in the coastal suburb of Glyfada near Athens just before the start of Saturday's tour decider between the British & Irish Lions and Australia on Saturday July 6.
He had been sought by police since the previous November when they seized 20 kilos of cocaine, 15 kilos of cannabis, 15 kilos of amphetamine and £2.1 million in cash at an address in Fulham.
Officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency, or SOCA travelled to Athens to work alongside the Greek Police in the hunt for Hanley.
Hanley and his girlfriend, Greek TV station owner and presenter Chryssi Minadaki, 45, who was also living in Fulham at the time of the police raid, were both arrested on European Arrest Warrants and extradited to the UK.
Minadaki, who had enjoyed a "high-flying lifestyle", was also jailed for 17 years while Hanley's right-hand man John Fowler, 58, who lived just a short walk away from Hanley in Billing Road on the Chelsea/Fulham borders received 16 years.
Both, like Hanley, were convicted of plotting to supply heroin, amphetamines and cannabis and money laundering.
The court heard that Hanley went back to his criminal ways within months of leaving after prison after nine years. He had previously been jailed for drug possession in Britain after police found 29kg of cocaine in his car in 1998.
He found a source of cocaine in Venezuela and used Fowler's legitimate fruit and vegetable business as a front to bring the drugs into Britain via Greece and Minadaki provided the lorries and the fruit as cover.
There were plans to use strawberries, cauliflower and broccoli when the police foiled the gang's plot.
When officers raided Fowler's Chelsea flat in November 2012, they found cocaine worth £2.5million, amphetamines worth £200,000, skunk cannabis worth £61,000, more than £2million in cash and two cash counting machines.
Judge Wendy Joseph QC said on Wednesday: "To spell out the harrowing misery (of drug dealing), it's not just the lives of the users, but the misery caused to the families of the users and the victims of the crimes committed in order that drugs can be purchased."
Four other men were also sentenced, including three who are already in prison. Two men serving time in Belmarsh Prison for supplying heroin worth £8million in Scotland were sentenced for the cocaine plot. Matthew Edward, 49, and Richard Harrison, 58, will serve six years, 10 months, and five and a half years respectively.
Darren Barker, 49, who is in Lewes Prison, was sentenced to three years and nine months for the amphetamine plot.
Ian Doherty, 47, of Greenend Road, Chiswick, who had been found with £160,000 cash in a holdall, was sentenced to six months for money laundering.
October 9, 2014