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Prison for "mule" who smuggled £20k cocaine into Jersey internally

Prison for

Monday 15 May 2023

Prison for "mule" who smuggled £20k cocaine into Jersey internally

Monday 15 May 2023

A 39-year-old drug "mule" who claimed he only imported £20,000-worth of high-purity cocaine into the island to settle a debt has been sentenced to eight years and three months in prison.

Shaun Halliwell was stopped at Jersey Airport by a Customs officer when he arrived from Manchester on 16 March 2023.

Laying out the facts of the case during sentencing in the Royal Court on Monday afternoon, Crown Advocate Luke Sette, prosecuting, explained that Halliwell was travelling alone with a rucksack. "Nothing of relevance" was found inside when the bag was searched, but swabs of the bag, and Halliwell's mobile phone and toothbrush indicated the presence of cocaine and heroin. 

Halliwell, who admitted during interview that he was a "drug addict", said he had used crack cocaine and heroin the day before.


Pictured: One of the drugs packages which Halliwell concealed "internally".

While in the custody suite, Halliwell produced a package which he confirmed was cocaine, but said that he wasn't carrying any more. Despite this, he later produced more. 

A total of five packages were produced by Halliwell, of which two were found to hold cocaine. One of these contained purity levels of 87% and 70%.

The total weight of cocaine seized from Halliwell was 80.9g.

The Court heard that the defendant had also internally imported small amounts of cannabis, heroin and crack cocaine into the island. However, a drugs trafficking expert said that these drugs were "in all probability for Halliwell's own use".

Halliwell claimed that he was "pressurised" to import the drugs in order to settle a debt of £5,000 to his drug dealer.

The defendant also suggested that failure to settle the debt could bring harm to him and his partner, Advocate Sette told the Court, but noted that "this is not mitigation".

"It's impossible to know whether the threat by his dealer was true or not," he added.

Advocate Sette told the court: "[Halliwell] was a well-trusted drugs courier, he was entrusted with a large amount of Class A drugs.

"The role was straightforward and important. It was inevitable that the drugs would be passed on for onward distribution."

The Crown Advocate called for a sentence of eight-and-a-half years.

Royal Court

Pictured: Halliwell was sentenced by the Superior Number of the Royal Court, which only sits for the most serious of cases.

Meanwhile, Advocate Lauren Glynn, defending, said that Halliwell's importation was "not sophisticated" and that he was "remorseful".

She explained: "The Crown are making too much of Halliwell's role in the importation. If it was straightforward, then he was a mule.

"The suggestion that he was any more trusted than any other courier is not proven by evidence."

"Really he has been mixed up in drug use since his teenage years, although he has a poor record, he has no previous convictions of drug trafficking," Advocate Gynn added, calling for a sentence of seven-and-a-half years. 

The defence advocate said that Halliwell – who has 143 previous convictions, with seven related to drug offences – had accepted he would face "a lengthy sentence". She added that he hoped to take a bricklaying course during his time in prison.

Presiding, the Bailliff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, handed down a custodial sentence of eight years and three months.

Sir Timothy acknowledged that Halliwell had been co-operative with his early guilty plea.

However, he added that the court did not "place weight" on Halliwell's claim that he was "pressurised" to import the drugs to pay a debt.

Speaking after the sentencing, Senior Manager at Jersey Customs Paul Le Monnier said: "Jersey Customs and Immigration Service officers continue to target those who attempt to import controlled drugs into the island to ensure Jersey remains a safe place to live and to protect our wider society."

Jurats Steven Austin-Vautier, Joanne Averty, David Gareth Hughes, Andrew Cornish and Michael Entwistle were presiding.

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