Seized cocaine had a street value of £25 million
Luke Skeete and Gabriella Anderson . Picture: Met Police
July 27, 2023
Two people have been jailed after police raids on storage units in Chiswick and Acton discovered drugs worth an estimated £25 million.
On 21 July 2022, officers stopped a hire car heading into London. A resulting search of the vehicle led officers to find a large black holdall in the boot of the vehicle that contained 25 kilograms of high purity cocaine.
27-year-old Gabriella Anderson, of Hercies Road, Uxbridge was arrested along with the driver. Anderson and the driver were both arrested and charged with possession with intention to supply the following day. The driver was found not guilty at Harrow Crown Court on 1 March 2023.
As a result, further investigation, officers were able to identify that 25-year-old Luke Skeete of Evergreen Drive in West Drayton met with Anderson on the day the car was stopped and supplied her with the holdall containing the drugs
On 20 October 2022 Skeete was observed using a hire van and was subsequently stopped by officers in the Richmond area driving towards Chiswick. A search of the vehicle found three kilograms of cocaine in the front passenger footwell, with a further five kilograms in the rear of the van.
Officers from Specialist Crime then searched a storage unit leased by Skeete in Acton and found an organised distribution centre containing 123 kilograms of high purity cocaine.
Further enquiries by the investigation team then identified another self-storage location in Chiswick which Skeete had been driving towards on the day of his arrest. In the storage locker officers found 244 kilograms of ketamine and 11 kilograms of a hybrid drug mixture of cocaine and ketamine.
Drugs found during the raids. Picture: Met Police
Skeete was charged on 21 October 2022 with possession with intent to supply drugs and on 3 March 2023 at Isleworth Crown Court he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply 131 kilos of cocaine as well as 225 kilos of ketamine and driving while disqualified. He also pleaded guilty on Thursday, 25 May at the same court to multiple fraud offences committed whilst working for Audi UK in 2020. Skeete defrauded many customers, some through their Motability Scheme, to a total of £127,029. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday, 24 July.
Gabriella Anderson was previously sentenced to six years and nine months’ imprisonment at Harrow Crown Court on Monday, 20 March for possession with intention to supply drugs.
PC Dave Selwood, from the Met's Specialist Crime Command, said, “Skeete and Anderson thought that by using hire vehicles and minicabs they could move, with impunity, a significant amount of drugs into London for their own financial gain.
“Drugs as a whole but especially on this scale, are inextricably linked to violence and other crimes that cause misery for the people of London. The meticulous investigative work carried out by my team shows our commitment to taking these controlled substances off London’s streets.
“We hope that this result sends a clear message to those involved in illicit activities that the Met does not welcome this kind of enterprise in London, and our Specialist Crime officers will work determinedly to catch individuals such as this.”
Detective Sergeant Reda Imane, who led the fraud investigation, said, "Fraud is far from a victimless offence, and the repercussions for the numerous victims involved in this situation extend beyond mere financial loss. The emotional toll has been immense, leading to severe distress and devastation for those affected. Without Audi's goodwill gesture, these victims would have been deprived of their life savings.
“The outcome demonstrates the unwavering commitment of Met in relentlessly pursuing individuals like Skeete who engage in fraudulent activities. Our determination remains resolute in ensuring that such offenders are held accountable and brought to justice."
Skeete was also sentenced to 12 weeks in custody for driving whilst disqualified and banned from driving for 12 months and given six penalty points on his licence upon his release.
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