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Cocaine smuggler who 'wanted money for Benidorm holiday' jailed

Cocaine smuggler who 'wanted money for Benidorm holiday' jailed

Monday 23 January 2023

Cocaine smuggler who 'wanted money for Benidorm holiday' jailed

Monday 23 January 2023

A 32-year-old man, who claimed he smuggled cocaine worth up to £15,400 internally on a flight to Jersey because he wanted to raise money for a trip to Benidorm and Christmas shopping, has been sent to jail for five years.

Manchester-born Joshua Steven Catracchia - a former soldier who served in Afghanistan - travelled to the island on a flight from Manchester on 21 October 2022.

On arrival, he was questioned by Customs and Immigration Officers, telling them he was visiting to seek work as a scaffolder.

Officers became suspicious that he was importing drugs and an X-ray later confirmed that he was carrying a package internally.

Upon examination, that package was found to contain three smaller packages - together holding 68.68g of cocaine with an estimated street value of between £8,400 and £15,400. The average purity was 51%.

catracchia package

Pictured: The package containing the cocaine.

Recommending a sentence of six years, Advocate Crowder added: "Catracchia travelled to the island to hand over a package to someone locally in return for financial reward."

The court heard that Catracchia had been promised a sum of £3,000 for his role as a drug courier, which would have helped to pay for birthday presents for family members, along with a trip to Benidorm and the cost of Christmas.

He told investigating officers that the cocaine was not destined for a specific local contact, but that he was going to try and sell it locally, though he did not know how he was be able to do that within a day.

Advocate Chris Baglin, defending, told the court that Jersey's tough drug sentencing laws had come as a surprise to his client.

Advocate Baglin said: "In his understanding of the British Isles he thought he could move freely.

"Like so many couriers he was shocked by the sentencing policy and has accepted that his punishment would be measured in years."

The case was heard by the Superior Number of the Royal Court - which only sits for the most serious cases - and Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae was presiding.

Between 2008 and 2014 Catracchia served with the British Army, during which time he had served a three-month tour in Afghanistan, according to Advocate Baglin.

He added: "He's not an entirely typical drugs courier – he has considered the impact of the punishment, he didn't have the consequential thinking clearly [at the time]. He was presented with an opportunity and saw some financial gain."

Royal Court

Pictured: The case was heard by the Superior Number of the Royal Court on Monday.

The Deputy Bailiff said that it was important for the court to recognise the defendant’s service in the Army.

Following Catracchia's sentencing to five years’ imprisonment on Monday, Senior JCIS Manager Paul Le Monnier commented: “Drug abuse and drug related crime has far-reaching effects on our society and, therefore, JCIS Officers will continue to target those responsible for importing drugs and prevent them from reaching the streets of Jersey.” 

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