May 26 2013 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Shocked Muswell Hill residents looked on as police swooped on three suspected drug smugglers accused of assisting in a £10million cocaine run from Ecuador.
Officers arrested mother-of-three Paula Sanchez, 32, at her home in Gilson Place, Coppetts Road, along with two other suspects in a daring late-night sting operation last Friday.
Sanchez, a shopkeeper, along with Gilmar Gil Solano, 24, of Deptford, and Martha Santiago, 35, of Woolwich, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with conspiracy to import class A drugs, after police confiscated 100kg of cocaine with a street value in excess of £10million at Heathrow airport on June 27.
A neighbour of Sanchez, who did not wish to be named, said she was “completely shocked” by the arrests last Friday.
“You would never expect it, this is quite a family-orientated neighbourhood,” she said.
Since the arrests, residents have described a heightened police presence in the area and claim CCTV cameras have been fitted near the entrance to one block of flats along Gilson Place.
On Monday, the court heard how officers from the UK Border Agency discovered 100kg of cocaine, believed to be part of a wider £44million operation, packed amongst 10 boxes of food which had arrived at Heathrow from Ecuador.
Officers confiscated the drugs but allowed the package to be delivered to an address in Muswell Hill where surveillance police then watched as a car carrying the consignment left the house, the court was told.
Police claim the vehicle then met a Vauxhall Corsa on a side street.
There the boxes were transferred from one car to another, before Sanchez and her accomplices were arrested.
Officers also allege to have witnessed Sanchez accept an envelope containing £2,700 in cash.
She was remanded in custody on Monday to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on August 31 for a plea and case management hearing.