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Drug smugglers hide marijuana and ecstasy in shipments of lawnmowers

By Mason White 12:46 PM May 21, 2017
Mark Maguire (L) and Neil Snazel
Mark Maguire (L) and Neil Snazel
By: William Martin

A group of drug smugglers hid dangerous and illegal drugs in shipments of lawnmowers, according to police in the United Kingdom.

Neil Snazel, 42, of Manchester, imported ecstasy, cannabis and ketamine while Derek Maguire, 55, also of Manchester, kept them hidden in a storage unit.

Snazel arranged for drugs to be smuggled into the country from the Netherlands, in at least 15 shipments of machinery over a four-month period.

Snazel was sentenced to 14 years in prison at the Minshull Street Crown Court.

Maguire, who was also sentenced to 14 years in prison, employed his daughter, Beth Maguire, 23, her boyfriend, Jack Rhodes, 24, and his nephew, Mark Maguire, 33, all of Manchester, to distribute the drugs.

Mark Maguire was sentenced to a 12 months in prison, which was suspended for two years, while Jack Rhodes was given 3 years and 9 months.

Rhodes’ sentence includes time for drugs charges brought by Greater Manchester Police relating to the production, possession and supply of drugs.

Mark Maguire was also given a ten-day rehabilitation order.

Beth Maguire was sentenced to two four-month concurrent prison terms, suspended for two years. She was also sentenced for allowing her apartment to be used to produce drugs.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation began after Thames Valley Police seized a crate from the Netherlands addressed to a courier.

It contained a lawnmower and 11 heat sealed packages, which tests proved to be 80 kilos of MDMA.

Officers later identified 14 similar deliveries, whose labels indicate Snazel had shipped 1,033 kilos of drugs into the country.

Officers were able to link Snazel, Rhodes, Beth Maguire and Mark Maguire to the conspiracy using their phone records.

Mail courier Andrew Cross, 40, was charged as part of the investigation, but was found not guilty.