Two men attempted to smuggle $341,875 worth of cocaine in baked beans and condensed coconut milk tins. They were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Daniel Kelly and Steven Gilhooly, both 43, sent two parcels described as "containing tinned goods," from St. Lucia, an island in the Caribbean, to southeast London in December 2018, according to a London's Metropolitan Police news release.
An investigation by London police and the U.K.'s National Crime Agency led to an inspection of the package and authorities realized it contained 2.742 kg of cocaine. To conceal the drugs, the men purchased a can sealing machine and lids, police said.
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When both men flew from London to St. Lucia in 2018, they told officials they were going on a holiday. Officials recorded the men had a can sealer in their luggage. In St. Lucia, Kelly mailed the cans filled with cocaine and used a fake driving license as identification.
On Jan. 23, 2020, police charged Kelly, who was serving time in prison for a different offense. Gilhooly was arrested on March 9. They were both charged with fraud and importing drugs – the specific charge of "being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of a Class A drug."
Kelly on Jan. 12 was sentenced to 6½ years in prison; Gilhooly was sentenced to 8½ years.
"This should send a clear and strong message to those intent on penetrating our borders that offences of this nature are taken very seriously and we will leave no stone unturned in bringing them to justice," Detective Inspector Matthew Webb, from the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime teams, said in a statement.
Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Men tried to smuggle cocaine into London in baked bean cans