Jailed grocer who hid cocaine in crates of pomegranates must pay back £400k

A drug baron’s top lieutenant who used his Covent Garden fruit and veg business to disguise a cocaine-smuggling ring must pay back more than £400,000 or face extra years in jail.

John Fowler, 61, was the front for the operation that saw at least £5 million of drugs ferried from Greece to the UK among crates of pomegranates and watermelons.

He was the right-hand man to Kevin Hanley, once one of Britain’s most wanted men and described as a “top, top man” in the cocaine trade.

The drugs gang was smashed in 2012 after months of surveillance on Hanley led investigators to Fowler’s greengrocer business in Covent Garden.

Hanley had previously been an accomplice of Brian Wright, the drug trafficker known as the Milkman because he always delivered. When Wright was jailed last year, Hanley assumed his position.

Using Fowler’s legitimate but failing business — Fowler’s PCC Ltd — Hanley transported vast quantities of Venezuelan cocaine by lorry across Europe and into the UK.

The drugs were concealed among crates of watermelons and pomegranates, as well as strawberries, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Acting on a tip-off, officers raided Fowler’s flat in Chelsea and found £2.5 million of cocaine, £200,000 of amphetamines, £61,000 of skunk cannabis, and more than £2 million in cash.

Hanley’s girlfriend, Chrysi Minadaki, a well-known TV presenter in Greece, was in charge of sourcing the fruit and vegetables used to disguise the lorryloads of drugs. She was jailed for 16 years for her role in the operation, while another of Hanley’s lovers acted as his secretary.

Hanley, who had homes in Kensington and Fulham, went on the run with Minadaki when the drugs ring was smashed in 2012, but was caught when police swooped on an Irish pub in Athens as he watched the British and Irish Lions rugby team beat Australia.

He has since been ordered to pay back more than £2 million or face another nine years in prison. Fowler was sentenced to 16 years behind bars in 2014, and appeared at the Old Bailey yesterday for a confiscation hearing.

Judge Joseph ordered him to pay back £416,739 of profits he had gained through the drugs trade.

Fowler, who appeared in court via videolink from prison, is planning to sell a flat in Bermondsey to settle the debt, and will face an extra four years in prison if he does not produce the money in time.

The judge also imposed a serious crime prevention order on Fowler, allowing him to be monitored when he is released from prison.

standard.co.uk
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Sports
England female basketball stars were joined by an NBA great to inspire young women to take up their sport. Siobhan Prior and Georgia Jones were joined by three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen at the Jr. NBA Girls Clinic, hosted at CitySport in Barbican on Monday, before a game at the O2 on Thursday between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks. Prior and Jones, who were in the silver medal-winning England Women’s team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth...
Society
Grieving parents heard that new medical practices could have saved their baby, who died in their arms at just four days old from preventable brain damage caused during labour. Sebastian Clark was born at Kingston Hospital on March 8 2017,  with devastating injuries from which he would never recover. Failure by midwives to escalate the case and subsequent failure by doctors to expedite the pregnancy, despite knowing that Sebastian’s mother Alison had develo...
Crime
A man has been tasered and arrested by police at a train station in south London. The 59-year old is currently being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon after being detained at Tulse Hill. British Transport Police officers were called to the station just after 6:30pm to reports of someone carrying a knife. Nobody was injured and the arrest is not believed to be terror related. Witnesses are being urged to conta...
Crime
A mother has died and her eight-month-old boy is in hospital after being hit by a car as they crossed a road. The woman, believed to be in her 20s, was pushing a pram when they were hit in Anerley, south London, last night. The boy is in a serious condition after suffering from life-threatening injuries. The driver of the car that is believed to have hit them was also taken to hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and is helping police with their inqu...
News Company
Breaking up with your partner is always a disastrous event. However, if your partner decides to break up with you, it isn’t necessarily the end. Statistically 66% of exes want to get back together again. 50% of separated couples reunite. Here we will show you tips on how to fix a broken relationship. If you want to find your love you must realize that it is all about respect and understanding your beloved one.  Accepting The Situation  You have to calm dow...
Society
A Londoner who used to contemplate suicide on his morning commute is now running the length of every Tube line to raise money for a mental health charity. Daniel Sherry, 29, quit his sports PR job in April 2018 and set about completing “30 challenges before 30”, including running his first marathon and cycling from London to Paris. His latest exploit is seeing him traverse all 11 lines of the capital’s 249 mile-long underground network above ground, on foo...
Crime
The family of London teenager Jayden Moodie say he had no links to gangs and was "murdered in cold blood". Jayden Moodie, 14, was stabbed to death by attackers who knocked him off a moped in Leyton on Tuesday in what police believe was a targeted attack. The teenager had moved from Nottingham to London with his mother six months ago for a "new start". No arrests have been made over Jayden's death, the Met Police has said. Speaking near to the scene where J...
Crime
A clubber who ploughed his car onto a packed dance floor in a drink and drug-fuelled rage after being thrown out by bouncers has been jailed for 28 years. Mohammed Abdul said he felt “humiliated” after being ejected from Blake’s nightclub in Gravesend, Kent, on March 17 last year. He drank at least 15 glasses of vodka, tequila shots and more than “five to 10 spliffs” of cannabis before he got behind the wheel of his Suzuki Vitara. Bouncers had kicked him o...
Society
More than 100,000 spectators will descend on central London to watch the Mayor’s firework display tonight as the capital gears up for New Year’s Eve. Barriers have been put in place lining the streets ahead of the display, which has sold out. Fences have also been erected around fountains at Trafalgar Square ahead of Tuesday’s New Year’s Day parade. Tickets are no longer available but the display is visible from Greenwich Park, Hampstead Heath, Vauxhall Br...