Thu, 06 Jan 2011
A couple from Norton Canes involved in a tobacco smuggling racket must pay more than £900,000 between them by July to avoid an extension to jail sentences.
Robert Horton and Julie Henworth, of Church Road, were jailed following Operation Range, an HM Revenue and Customs investigation into tobacco smuggling.
Investigations launched in 2006 led to four linked and one associated operation uncovering a staggering 35.4 million illicit cigarettes, many of which were counterfeit, and nearly a ton of hand rolling tobacco. The revenue loss to the public purse was nearly £5m.
Investigation officers took part in dawn raids to disrupt the gangs and seize the huge haul of illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
Horton and Henworth, along with Donald Southall from Sedgley, were jailed for a total of 11 years and four months for money laundering and organising the smuggling of 11 million cigarettes and revenue theft of £1.7m. The gang members masterminded the organised crime syndicate, the court was told.