Child gave Lego box full of cocaine as birthday present after dealer plan went wrong
According to Liverpool Echo, two former Royal Marines imported cocaine in children’s Lego boxes using the DPD courier service.
Jack Jones and Issac Rasmussen hatched an international plan that involved hiding a variety of drugs in toy boxes designed for children.
However, the couple’s plan seriously backfired when a box was accidentally mistaken for a gift for a baby boy’s birthday party.
His mother opened the box, which featured a photo of a fire engine on the front, so he could play with only to discover a kilogram of 82% pure cocaine.
Jack Jones and Issac Rasmussen, both 28, were jailed on June 15 for 16 and a half and 10 years respectively.
Judge Stuart Driver, QC, told Rasmussen: “You have authorized the use of your home for the delivery of packages of several kilograms of Class A drugs.
“Part of such a delivery to your address disguised as Lego was inadvertently given to a small child wrapped as a birthday present, putting the child at risk of serious injury.”
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Jack Jones was using EncroChat phones with the “IntimateMode” and “FeralWhale” handles, before “IntimateMode” was later handed over to Rasmussen.
When the secret telephone network was hacked last year, detectives discovered that Jack Jones had a Dutch contact, “NetIce”, who posted cocaine, heroin, MDMA and cannabis from the United States. Netherlands, which the gang supplied across the UK.
Vacuum-sealed packages were also dropped off at the home of co-conspirator Paul Jones, 43, and his mother.
Two DPD packages delivered on June 24, 2020 and recovered by the police contained 18kg of “high purity” cocaine.
The wholesale value was between £ 612,000 and £ 720,000, but the potential market value at the cut was as high as £ 1.8million.
Charles Lander, prosecuting, said it was “just the tip of the iceberg” of a larger 50kg Class A pitch between March 21 and June 25, 2020.
He said Jack Jones’ EncroChat had revealed “he was preparing to import and transport large quantities of drugs, by air and by ship, from as far away as the Virgin Islands of the Caribbean.”
Mr Lander added: “Jack Jones was telling one of his associates that they would be multimillionaires in a few months.”
Jack Jones regularly transferred large payments, including £ 149,500 in bitcoin cryptocurrency to his Dutch contact.
Mr Lander said Rasmussen was “a very trusted confidant” and that he was registered with Companies House as a director of 998 Euro Couriers Transport Ltd – named after their former regiment – the name of Jack Jones being deliberately excluded from documents.
Rasmussen accompanied him to a meeting with a NetIce contact at the Wheatsheaf pub in Raby, Wirral, when they handed over the money.
He also acted as a drug and money courier and authorized a property he rented in Long Hey, Whiston, to receive deliveries.
Mr Lander said: “These drugs were concealed in Lego children’s boxes. The potential dangers of this cover-up were demonstrated when one of the boxes, containing a kilogram of high-purity cocaine, was given as a gift to a little child.
“It was only luckily that one of the child’s parents opened the box and discovered the contents.”
Paul Jones, aka Paul Birch, received seven DPD packages imported from Holland.
The latter two, containing over 12kg of cocaine, were sent to her mother Sharon Birch’s home in Callington Close, Huyton and to her home in Lincombe Road, Huyton.
Officers raided his home on June 24, when a DPD driver showed up with a large brown box for him.
It contained eight small Lego Duplo boxes, but inside were compressed one-kilo blocks of 77% pure cocaine.
A search of his mother’s home revealed four Duplo boxes, each containing one-kilogram blocks of 82% pure cocaine.
Six members of his family were arrested, including his mother, who said he asked her to receive deliveries for him.
Police then raided Rasmussen’s address in Whiston, where they found the remains of a cannabis farm.
It was only later that they found out that a DPD package had been delivered to his next door neighbor, who agreed to accept it for him.
In a statement to police, the neighbor said she had collected a number of packages for “Isaac” over the past two years.
But with Rasmussen lying low after the police raids, every time she tried to give him the June 24 delivery, he wasn’t there.
A few weeks later, her son’s girlfriend said she was going to a children’s party and did not have a present for her friend’s son.
The woman told him about the unclaimed Lego boxes and suggested that he take a Duplo with a photo of a fire engine as a gift.
She wrapped the box and dropped it off for the boy’s birthday, before his mother opened it so he could play with it on September 4.
Mr Lander said: “When she opened the box, she immediately noticed that it was not Lego but an item that had been wrapped in different layers of different packaging.
The packaging was covered with foil and inside was a white bag with brown duct tape marked and containing a solid white block. Forensic analysis of this white block revealed that it was ‘was 1 kg of cocaine at 82% purity. “
Police then went to the neighbor’s house and seized five more Lego boxes, each containing one kilogram of 86% pure cocaine.
Jack Jones was arrested at Manchester Airport, with three cell phones and cash, as he arrived from Amsterdam on December 2.
Officers searched his Linden Drive home in Huyton and found a property matching the items shown in photos from his EncroChat device.
He made no comment, as did Rasmussen when he was arrested the next day in Bedfordshire.
Police raided his home in Widnes and apparently discovered the remains of a cannabis farm and a “cannabis cultivation bible”.
They also found a photo of Troop 998, Commando Training Center in Devon, showing Rasmussen and Jack Jones in 2009.
Paul Jones was arrested at HMP Liverpool on January 20, where he was serving a 12-month sentence for cultivating a £ 50,000 cannabis farm.
He agreed to receive packages, before telling the police, “What I will say is that my parents and everyone in my house had to do with anything, everything is on my guard.”
The three men admitted to conspiring to import and supply cocaine.
Jack Jones, of Hey Park, Huyton, also admitted to conspiring to supply heroin, MDMA and cannabis, to import cannabis and to convert criminal property.
He has two previous convictions, including a burglary attempt in 2014, when he was jailed for 12 months.
Alaric Walmsley, defending Jack Jones, said the father, who has a two-year-old daughter, showed “real remorse”.
He said: “He served his country as a Royal Marine. After his honorable release, there is a testimony from his commanding officer, which refers to his service in the medical squadron as an ambulance driver for the main battlefield surgery center of the 3rd Commando Brigade.
“He became part of the team held at a high level of readiness to respond to conflicts and humanitarian crises all over the world.
Rasmussen, of Heath Road, Widnes, who also admitted to conspiring to import cannabis, had no previous convictions.
Rasmussen defender Arthur Gibson said he entered the plots “with his eyes open” and befriended Jack Jones after joining the Marines at 17.
He said Rasmussen had served overseas but ended up in England at a training base and “wanted to try and do something else with his life”, but after working as a truck driver and courier for companies like Parcel Force, “unfortunately” got involved in the plots.
Paul Jones, of Lincombe Road, Huyton, also admitted to possessing cannabis and criminal property.
Ken Heckle, defending the father of three, said he worked as a forklift driver without a criminal record until he slipped on the ice, “broke his ankle” and lost his job.
He said he couldn’t find a job and this case, like his conviction for producing cannabis – which he used to treat himself for anxiety and depression – “is proof of how he tried to sort out all his financial difficulties. “
Mr Heckle suggested that his client’s role was not sophisticated as he used his own name and addresses for deliveries and there was an element of “naivety” and “dare I say it even of exploitation. “.
Paul Jones was jailed for seven and a half years.
Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson of the Merseyside Police said: “It is a brilliant result to see three other dangerous drug criminals locked up as part of Nationwide Operation Venetic.
“Despite Jack Jones bragging about being a multimillionaire soon, their dreams of building a life – and a drug empire – by sowing misery in our communities have now collapsed around them.
“As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police have so far arrested more than 125 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug and firearm trafficking offenses. will continue to appear in court, and with each being brought to justice, our streets are made safer from the harm they can cause.
“Our message to others involved in this type of crime is clear: expect a knock on the door as soon as possible.
“Merseyside Police will continue to be relentless and will spare no effort in their pursuit of those involved in serious organized crime in order to protect our communities.”
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