Page last updated at 19:37 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 20:37 UK

Inmate jailed for smuggling ring

George Moon
George Moon was jailed for 18 years for smuggling cocaine

A convicted drug dealer from Liverpool who ran an international cocaine ring from his prison cell using a mobile phone has been jailed for 18 years.

George Moon, 62, admitted importing cocaine using DHL and Royal Mail Parcel Force, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

He used a contraband mobile phone at HMP Lindholme in Doncaster to contact Leo Morgan, from Birmingham, an inmate at El Renacer Prison in Panama.

They plotted to smuggle cocaine with a street value of £300,000 into the UK.

Moon, from Liverpool, was already serving a 14-year sentence for earlier importations of cocaine in 2003, when he contacted Morgan in South America.

You were able, while a prisoner, to access mobile phones
Judge Bryn Holloway

Judge Bryn Holloway said it "beggars belief" how Moon was able to access a mobile phone and two Sim cards while in prison.

He added: "The fact you were able to do that in an English prison raises questions over the levels of supervision and control over you.

"You were able, while a prisoner, to access mobile phones. An even more extraordinary fact was the South America end of this conspiracy was being run by an Englishman who was, at the time, a prisoner in Panama."

The court was told Morgan received phone calls from Moon on a smuggled mobile and then used contacts in Latin America to arrange the consignments.

The parcels, made to look like engineering parts, were sent to Cork, Ireland, and then brought into the UK by fellow gang members.

Packages were also sent to UK addresses linked to Moon's gang.

Moon then used a false name to pretend he wanted to rent storage space from a landlord in Ireland, whom he convinced to accept the drug deliveries for him.

The plot was exposed in May 2008 when former soldier Lee Standeven, 24, of Clapgate Crescent, Widnes, posted him a parcel of heroin and mobile Sim cards.

The court heard prison guards were suspicious when the envelope arrived with a Ministry of Justice emblem on it - but it was sent from Cheshire.

A sniffer dog indicated it contained drugs and the envelope was opened.

A notebook, seized from Moon's prison cell, containing phone numbers and details about the gang, helped police crack the case.

Standeven was jailed for five years after admitting supplying Moon heroin and contraband Sim cards.

Four other accomplices were all jailed for between five and eight years for their involvement.

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