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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 16:37 GMT
Footballer denies drug possession
Onandi Lowe
Onandi Lowe denies trying to possess 1.17kg of crack cocaine
A Jamaican international footballer accused of being in a drug smuggling ring said he never thought a parcel sent to him contained 1.17kg of drugs.

Onandi Lowe is alleged to have been "part of a chain of supply" and planned to receive more than 100,000 worth of crack cocaine at his home in Rushden.

He told the jury at Northants Crown Court that a friend had asked him to receive the parcel for his girlfriend.

Mr Lowe denies one charge of attempting to possess drugs with intent to supply.

He told the court on Wednesday: "I am Jamaican, maybe you think differently. If I am a mate and you said, 'can you do that for me', I am not going to think anything bad of you."

'Not a public guy'

Mr Lowe, 31, said he had not checked the box when it arrived. "He was my mate sending something for his missus. I am not going to question what he is going to send for his missus."

The striker said he signed for the package using the name "Kevin Brown", because he wanted to protect his identity and prevent the paparazzi from taking pictures of him.

"I am the type of guy who likes to hide my identity," he said.

The package had been intercepted by US drugs officers last year and swapped for a harmless substance in the US before it was monitored by UK police.

'Money' motivation

Opening the case on Monday, Christopher Donnellan, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Lowe was part of a drugs ring smuggling crack into the UK from the Caribbean.

"Probably for money, Onandi Lowe agreed to assist in the chain of supply of what turned out to be 1.17kg (2.5lb) of cocaine," Mr Donnellan told the jury.

Mr Lowe, 30, now of Whiteland Road, Finsbury Park, north London, was arrested by Northamptonshire Police at his then home in Rushden in April last year. Mr Lowe lived in Northamptonshire while he played for Rushden and Diamonds.

He transferred to Championship side Coventry City in March but he was told his contract would not be renewed in the summer.

He will not be playing international football for Jamaica while he challenges the drugs charges.

Footballer denies cocaine charge
14 Feb 05 |  Northamptonshire

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