Hatfield drug smuggler jailed

A DAD-OF-THREE who smuggled almost �40,000 of cocaine into the UK has been jailed for six years.

Hatfield man Paul Stephens admitted he was helping his friend Ben Perschky, who is behind bars in Panama after getting caught trying to smuggle drugs out of the Central American country.

The 43-year-old organised for a package to be received at the home of 22-year-old Chris Jackson in Bradshaws, Hatfield.

Stephens was convicted at his trial earlier this year of being there to receive the package, which contained 647g of powder cocaine and 360g of 100 per cent pure cocaine, in August 2008.

Mr Jackson was cleared by the jury.

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Defence barrister Stephen Vullo said Stephens only pleaded his innocence at trial as he did not want to admit his guilt to his wife and family.

He added that Stephens had previously appeared in the WHT, last summer, for rescuing a family from a flat fire, and he was again stepping in to help a friend in this case.

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Judge Martin Griffiths, sitting yesterday (Tuesday) at St Albans Crown Court, told Stephens of Hillcrest, Hatfield: “I accept you were helping Ben Perschky who was caught smuggling drugs and deserves everything he gets as far as I’m concerned.

“It’s through that friendship you involved Chris Jackson to do the most dangerous part of receiving the package before you came in to take it from him.”

The judge ordered the drugs to be destroyed and proceeds of crime investigations were begun.

Stephens said: “I love you” to his family sat in the public gallery, before being taken down.

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