A man who was part of a gang which smuggled cocaine worth £1.7 million into the UK has been ordered to hand over just £6,325 in cash – despite Northampton Crown Court hearing he made more than £200,000 from his crimes.
Adel Chouhaib, 34, formerly of Lingfield Walk, Corby, was handed a 10-year sentence in November last year for conspiracy to supply controlled drugs. At the time, the court was told that Chouhaib organised the “importation and dissemination” of huge quantities of cocaine and was one of the gang’s main ringleaders – although during last year’s proceedings he claimed he was taking orders from another individual he would not name.
He had organised the purchase of the drugs in the Netherlands as well as the purchase of a microlight aircraft to fly the 5kg of cocaine across the English Channel from an airfield in Abbeville, France, where the drugs were taken after the purchase.
Their plot fell apart when the pilot, Wayne Burgess from Westfields Road, Corby, was arrested after landing at Deenethorpe Airfield near Corby.
Another man, Richard Murray, from Greenhill Rise in Corby, was arrested in Dover at the same time – he had transported the drugs from Amsterdam to France.
He was brought back before Northampton Crown Court on Friday last week for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act – aimed at seizing some of the cash he had earned through illegal activities.
However, despite estimating that Chouhaib had earned a little over £200,000, investigators had only been able to identify £6,325 of assets to seize from him.
Judge Richard Bray made the order. The proceeds of crime proceedings began shortly after the end of the trial in November last year.
As well as serving 10 years for the cocaine conspiracy, Chouhaib was given an 18 month sentence for conspiracy to supply cannabis from a house in Grendon Avenue, Corby.