A 39-YEAR-OLD drugs mule has been jailed for more than eight years for smuggling high-purity cocaine into the Island.
Shaun Halliwell, who concealed up to £20,000-worth of the drug internally, was stopped at the Airport by a Customs officer shortly after arriving on a flight from Manchester on 16 March.
Halliwell later admitted that he was a ‘drug addict’ and claimed that he had smuggled the cocaine, as well as small amounts of cannabis, heroin and crack cocaine, to pay off a debt.
The Superior Number of the Royal Court, which convenes for Jersey’s most serious cases, heard that two packages of cocaine were found, with one of the bags containing purity levels of 87%.
The total weight of cocaine seized was 80.91 grams.
Halliwell claimed that he was ‘pressurised’ to import the drugs in order to settle a debt of £5,000 to his dealer.
He also alleged that failure to settle the debt could bring harm to him and his partner, according to Crown Advocate Luke Sette, prosecuting.
‘This is not mitigation – it’s impossible to know whether the threat by his dealer was true or not,’ said Advocate Sette.
He added: ‘[Halliwell] was a well-trusted drugs courier. He was entrusted with a large amount of class A drugs. The role was straightforward and important.
‘It was inevitable that the drugs would be passed on for onward distribution.’
The Crown Advocate called for a sentence of eight and a half years.
Advocate Lauren Glynn, defending, said that Halliwell’s importation was ‘not sophisticated’ and that he was ‘remorseful’.
‘The Crown are making too much of Mr Halliwell’s role in the importation. If it was straightforward, then he was a mule.
‘The suggestion that he was any more trusted than any other courier is not proven by evidence.
‘Really he has been mixed up in drug use since his teenage years. Although he has a poor record, he has no previous convictions of drug trafficking,’ said Advocate Glynn, who called for a sentence of seven and a half years.
Halliwell has 143 previous convictions, with seven related to drug offences.
Advocate Glynn added that Halliwell had accepted he would face ‘a lengthy sentence’ and that he intended to take a bricklaying course during his time in prison.
Announcing the court’s sentence of eight years and three months in jail, the Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, acknowledged that Halliwell had co-operated by making an early guilty plea
However, he added that the court did not ‘place weight’ on Halliwell’s claim that he was ‘pressurised’ to import the drugs to pay a debt.
Speaking after the sentencing, senior manager at Jersey Customs, Paul Le Monnier, said: ‘Jersey Customs and Immigration Service officers continue to target those who attempt to import controlled drugs into the Island to ensure Jersey remains a safe place to live and to protect our wider society.’
Jurats Steven Austin-Vautier, Joanne Averty, Gareth Hughes, Andrew Cornish and Michael Entwistle were sitting.