Pair sentenced for role in smuggling cocaine

Mumin Sahin, 47, and Emin Ozmen, 51, from Turkey, have been sentenced to 22 and 20 years imprisonment respectively for their role in the smuggling of more than 3 tonnes of cocaine aboard the ocean-going tug, the MV Hamal.

The ship was boarded by officers from the National Crime Agency and Border Force on April 23, 2015 off the Aberdeenshire coast, on its way from Guyana to a planned rendezvous to the west of Denmark.

The cocaine was found secreted within a large compartment deep inside the boat, adjacent to the ballast tanks. The entry to the space was found under a wardrobe in one of the crew’s quarters, with the opening cemented over.

The investigation into the seizure, overseen by Crown Office officials, resulted in a three-month trial at Glasgow High Court.

Speaking following today’s sentencing, the Crown Agent, David Harvie said: “The international drugs trade does not respect borders, and those of us whose job it is to dismantle it are working ever-closer together to ensure we stay one step ahead.

“Scotland’s reach in pursuing criminals is on a truly global scale and in this case we have dealt a substantial economic blow to organised criminals.

“The Hamal was identified after an intelligence tip-off from French authorities, and swift co-operation from the Attorney General in Tanzania where the ship was registered allowed it to be boarded.

“Our investigation then stretched from Guyana, who provided access to crucial shipping records, to Spain, who gave us crucial information on the ship’s stop-offs in the Canary Islands. We also worked with colleagues in Denmark, Norway and the United States to piece specific elements of the evidence together.

“Scotland is well-placed in this increasingly connected world to identify, apprehend and prosecute all those who seek to profit from crime in our jurisdiction, and we will continue to work with our agencies at home and abroad to build on this strength.”