St Albans woman jailed for smuggling heroin and cocaine
PUBLISHED: 15:51 17 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:40 17 October 2016
A 45-year-old woman has been imprisoned after smuggling drugs to her home in St Albans via the Channel Tunnel in Folkestone.
Debbie Reid, of Gorhambury, was one of three members of an organised drugs importation network who smuggled cocaine and heroin into the United Kingdom from Europe.
Reid was jailed for six years and eight months at Harrow Crown Court last Thursday (13), having pleaded guilty on May 6 to conspiracy to import Class A drugs.
A sentence of seven years imprisonment was handed down to both Omar Assaf, 35, of Hillview Close in Wembley, and Aydin Aziz, 45, of The Ridgeway, Enfield, after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at the same court.
An operation targeting the activities of an organised crime network importing and distributing Class A drugs, involving the trio, was launched by the Metropolitan Police specialist crime and operations command, which was acting on intelligence.
Officers saw Reid - the importer - travelling to and from France via the Channel Tunnel in Folkestone three times between March 10 and April 6, 2016.
On her journey back home to St Albans, she would meet with Omar Assaf and on the last occasion, with both Assaf and Aydin Aziz.
However, on the afternoon of Wednesday April 6, when Reid returned to the UK from Folkestone, police followed her.
While she did not meet with anyone on the return journey, she was seen to remove an orange carrier bag from the vehicle.
At the same time, Assaf was seen collecting Aziz, and the two drove around St Albans before finally going to Reid’s address at Gorhambury.
She handed Assaf the orange carrier bag at the front door, which he then placed in the front passenger footwell of the vehicle.
But, when he drove away, in the direction of Bluehouse Hill, Met police officers tried to stop the vehicle. Assaf’s car rammed their vehicle, and that of a member of the public.
When both men fled on foot, police chased after them and arrested the pair on suspicion of conspiracy to import Class A drugs.
Reid was arrested at about the same time as she was driving from Gorhambury.
A search of Assaf’s car revealed the orange carrier bag contained six wrapped packages which, on testing, were found to contain two kilos of cocaine and two kilos of heroin.
DC Andrew Walker of the Met’s specialist crime command said: “Debbie Reid, as the importer, was central to this network, with Omar Assaf and Aydin Aziz responsible for the onward distribution of the drugs.
“Reid was seen to blatantly smuggle the drugs in a carrier bag making no attempt to hide them.
“This police operation has successfully dismantled a network of sophisticated criminals who, despite making use of encrypted mobile devices, did not manage to evade capture.”