Drugs plane sold on eBay

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A light aircraft used by an international drugs trafficking gang to transport cocaine valued at £1.7m has been sold on eBay for £17,201 by Northants Police.

It is thought to be the first time a force has seized an aeroplane under the Misuse of Drugs Act and progressed to selling it.

The Zenair Zodiac aircraft was listed on eBay with a reserve of £12,000 on Monday, February 25, for a week.

The listing ended at 8pm on Monday (March 4) and saw 21 bids in total, with 11 made on the last day of listing.

Nearly 1,000 people were watching the plane during its listing on eBay.

The money raised by the sale will be invested in policing activities.

Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, said: “The sale of the plane and the interest from the public we’ve seen has been tremendous.

“It sold well above the reserve price and more than we expected to get. We can now use the money from the sale for policing activities. This sends a strong message to criminals that we will seize and sell their assets.”

The plane was confiscated by officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit during an investigation into an organised crime gang. Class A drugs were driven from Amsterdam to France, where they were loaded onto the aircraft and flown into Northamptonshire.

The case concluded in November 2012 with the convictions of six men for a total of 37 years.

All six men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import Class A drugs. They were:

Christopher Andrew McGlone, 27, of Occupation Road, Corby, who was sentenced to five years

James Martin McGlone, 30, of Occupation Road, Corby, who was sentenced to six years

Wayne Burgess, 36, of Westfields Road, Corby, who was sentenced to four years

Adel Chouhaib, 33, of Lingfield Walk, Corby, who was sentenced to 10 years for his involvement in the cocaine conspiracy.

Richard Sweeney Murray, 48, of Greenhill Rise, Corby, who was sentenced to four years.

Abdelilah Hilali, 34, Marsham Street, London, who was sentenced to eight years.

Detective Inspector Greg Maides, senior investigating officer from EMSOU-SOC, said: “This has been a unique case. To add to the successful convictions we got in court, the sale of this aircraft has added to the impact this case has had on those who have committed crime in our communities.

“I am pleased with the outcome and we will continue to investigate and seize assets from those who think they can get away with crime.”