Court confiscates £1k from drug smuggling author

AN AUTHOR jailed for 11½ years last month after attempting to smuggle £1.3 million worth of drugs into the Island in a Porsche Cayenne SUV had assets of just over £1,000 in criminal proceeds confiscated this week.

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MISSING CAPTION (23872957)

James Rice appeared at a confiscation hearing before the Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache.

Rice (69), who appeared before the court in a wheelchair, admitted last month to taking the Porsche – which was packed with cannabis, ecstasy tablets and cocaine ­— on a ferry from St Malo to Elizabeth Harbour in June 2018.

Rice, who writes under the name Seamus O’Mulgreavey, told Customs officers that he had bought the car as a retirement present to himself but a search of the vehicle soon revealed it had been ‘professionally’ modified to hide the drugs.

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The author of Bonkie: The Great Bank Blagger told officers he was in debt to some ‘bad people’ after borrowing 25,000 euros, and that he had been coerced into driving to Jersey and did not know the quantity of drugs that he was being asked to carry.

At the confiscation hearing, Crown Advocate Conrad Yates told the court that the criminal benefit to Rice from the smuggling amounted to £13,981 but the realisable amount was only £1,071.

Advocate Yates said the Crown had hoped to sell the Porsche and collect the proceeds as well but, on further examination, it was determined that the extensive modifications made had rendered it un-roadworthy and the car had to be destroyed.

The modifications included multiple hidden panels controlled by a wireless remote, which activated a locking system.

After a brief hearing, the Bailiff made a confiscation order for £1,071.

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