Fulham Arrest Foils Massive Drug Plot

Heroin found in bin bag in taxi on Wandsworth Bridge Road

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Police who pulled over a taxi on Wandsworth Bridge Road last summer found it was carrying heroin worth half a million pounds.

The discovery came after officers pulled over the taxi which was travelling  south towards Wandsworth Bridge. They found the passenger in the back was sitting next to a bulging bin bag.

The bin bag was filled with 10kgs of heroin, worth £500,000. And the arrest of the passenger, 37 year-old Jamie Cowsell, helped drug squad officers break up one of the biggest heroin rings ever brought to court in Britain.

The Metropolitan Police officers who carried out the arrest were acting at the request of Sussex Police's serious organised crime unit, who were on the trail of a gang planning to flood the streets of Sussex with 100,000 individual supplies of the the deadly drug.

Cowsell had been sent to London to pick up the heroin by Atif Ali, leader of the operation, who was running a makeshift heroin factory in Crawley in Sussex. Local police had observed Ali and his associates shopping for items for the factory, including a food mixer, spoons and scales.

The arrest of Cowsell in Fulham was followed to a week of other arrests which resulted in a total of 18 kgs of heroin - worth £1 million - taken off the streets.

Now five men, including Ali and Cowsell have admitted conspiracy to supply heroin at Hove Crown Court. They face long prison sentences and detectives intend to apply for the confiscation of their assets at a later hearing.

Detective Inspector Steve Paice said: “This has been a highly successful intelligence-led policing operation. These people have been supplying heroin in bulk quantities and ultimately it would have impacted in many areas across the country."

April 6, 2009