May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Court Reporter
Friday, May 11, 2012
»A drug smuggler who stashed more than £400,000-worth of cannabis in a grand piano has been jailed for six years.
Evan Masson, 34, arranged for the consignment to be shipped from his native South Africa to a disused warehouse in Tottenham Lane, Hornsey.
The former sound engineer boasted to a friend in a text: “My sh** arrived today. Will be in my hands probably by Tuesday. We’ll never go hungry again.”
He enlisted construction boss and fellow South African Brian Beangstrom, 60, of Wightman Road, Harringay, to help him transport the consignment, paying him just £360 to help out.
But they were caught red-handed by customs officers as they prised open the piano crate at the Hornsey warehouse last October.
The shipment – containing 143.9kgs of the class B drug worth £414,000 on the street – had been under surveillance for a week after it was intercepted by UK Border Agency officials in Felixstowe.
Masson, of Drayton Park, Highbury, took a leading role in organising the drug shipment and stood to make a “significant financial reward” said Judge Timothy Pontius.
His defence counsel claimed in court his “dire financial situation was the catalyst” for the crime.
Scott Ivill, defending father-of-two and grandfather Beangstrom, said his client believed until a late stage that they were collecting a family heirloom.
Sentencing him to 18 months in prison, Judge Pontius told Beangstrom: “It is a tragedy that someone of mature years with a commendable employment background and your lack of significant previous offences should be tempted into crime of this scale for paltry reward.”
Both men had admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and will be deported to South Africa upon release.