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Trio behind bars over MDMA conspiracy

Trio behind bars over MDMA conspiracy

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Trio behind bars over MDMA conspiracy


A trio aiming to import MDMA into the island has been jailed for a total of 17-and-a-half years, after one of them was stopped at the airport while carrying £11,200 worth of the drug internally.

Michael Anthony Hall (33), Zoe Louise Myers (35) Kaine Richard Jordan Witthingham (22), who were respectively described as the UK organiser, the courier, and the Jersey-based distributor, have been jailed for eight, five and four-and-a-half years.

They appeared before the Superior Number - a panel that sits only for the most serious of cases - facing one count of conspiracy to import MDMA and three other charges relating to money laundering.

Whittingham also faced one charge of being knowingly concerned in the supply of cannabis as well as possession of the drug.

The Court heard that the trio’s charges were linked to two importations of MDMA from 5 September and 11 October 2018.

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Pictured: Myers was stopped at the airport after Customs Officers noticed she was shaking.

In both cases, Hall had given Myers the drugs in the UK which she then concealed internally before traveling to the island. Once in Jersey, she met Whittingham and gave him the drugs, in exchange for cash which she took back to Hall.

The Court heard the September operation had been successful and that the exact quantity of drugs Myers brought in was therefore unknown. However, she told Customs Officers it was roughly 112g - a similar amount to what she was carrying on 11 October 2018 when she was stopped at the airport by Customs Officers, who had noticed she was shaking.

The officers searched Myers’ bag and found a condom and plastic wrap containing white powder. She first said, “Oh my God, someone must have put it in there,” but later admitted she was carrying three packages internally. Analysis of the drugs showed it was 112.64g of 76% pure MDMA, with a street value of £11,200.

Myers told officers she was meant to meet a person by the name of ‘Kane’ in Jersey and give him the drugs in exchange for £1,000. Officers identified Kane as being Whittingham and they arrested him at his home the following day.

They found 7.04 grams of cannabis – worth between £100 and £140 – in his possession along with nearly £900 in cash, which Whittingham said was a mixture of wages, winnings from bets, and savings. 

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Pictured: Whittingham said he “didn’t have the faintest clue” why his number would be in Myers’ phone.

Whittingham first denied any involvement, adding he “didn’t have the faintest clue” why his number would be in Myers’ phone. He denied meeting her on 5 September 2018 and refused to comment on the messages mentioning their meeting.  

But he admitted “knowing” of Hall and having bought things from him but said he had never met him.

Hall was identified through one of his fingerprints found on one of the wrappings of the packages Myers was carrying and was arrested in April 2019 in Bury.

Crown Advocate Richard Pedley said the conspiracy also involved activity in Guernsey, although none of the defendants had been charged in relation to any alleged importation of drugs there.

The Court heard that Myers had previously travelled to Guernsey on 23 August 2018 to collect cash for Hall.

On 28 August 2018, Hall sent Myers a message asking whether her fingerprints would be on any drugs packaged in Guernsey, after a 14-year-old boy ended up in hospital after taking drugs. Myers said she was just there to collect the money and hadn’t touched any bags.

“The prosecution case is that this was the start of a drug trafficking scheme, which would have continued and even expanded had the arrests not been made,” the Crown Advocate said. “While all are drug users, the motivation for the conspiracy was financial.”

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Pictured: The Court heard the conspiracy also involved activity in Guernsey.

He told the Court Hall didn’t dispute he had been “the driving force” behind the importation. He noted Myers had had a “traumatic upbringing” and was suffering from PTSD while there were “tragic events” in Whittingham’s background. He however said Myers had been a “willing participants for financial benefit” while Whittingham had “allowed his quest for personal gain to dominate his thinking ». 

He moved for a eight-year sentence for Hall, six years for Myers and five for Whittingham.

Royal Court Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith heard the case alongside Jurats Collette Crill, Jane Ronge, Pam Pitman, Steven Austin-Vautier and Gareth Hughes.

The Court decided to jail Hall for eight years while slightly reducing the sentences for Myers and Whittingham to five and four-and-a-half years respectively.

Lead picture: Zoe Myers and Kaine Witthingham.

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