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Drug dealer jailed after £1.3m worth of cocaine found hidden in gas canister

A £1million cocaine exchange in a car park has led to a supplier being jailed for nine years.

Vilmantus Jocius was observed by police exchanging a gas canister containing 13 kilograms of the class A drug at Neats Court retail park on Sheppey in September 2020.

Police officers open the gas canister filled with cocaine blocks

The 33-year-old, from Corby in Northamptonshire, denied possessing cocaine with intent to supply but was found guilty following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

He was sentenced at the same court today.

At about 7.40pm on September 15 last year, Jocius was seen acting suspiciously as he met a man in a car park in Thomsett Way, Queenborough. He then handed over a gas canister, which had been covered in a bath towel.

The person who received the canister then drove away in a red Mercedes Sprinter, which was stopped at a nearby petrol station by a police patrol.

The gas canister was seized and X-rays revealed numerous items concealed inside. These were later found to be 13 one kilogram blocks of cocaine, with a street value estimated to be as high as £1.3m.

Vilmantus Jocius has been jailed. Picture: Kent Police
Vilmantus Jocius has been jailed. Picture: Kent Police

The driver of the Sprinter was arrested and Jocius, who had left the scene of the exchange, was detained close to the Dartford Crossing nine days later.

Investigators were able to prove that Jocius had been in possession of the canister containing the drugs, prior to handing it over to the other motorist.

As he was also disqualified from driving, Jocius was also charged with this offence and will have a further period of five years and eight months’ disqualification on his release from prison.

Detective Constable Rebecca Veares, Kent Police’s investigating officer the for the case, said: "Jocius was clearly involved in a highly organised and very sophisticated plot to supply huge amounts of cocaine.

"The vigilance of our officers stopped a substantial amount of the drug making its way onto our streets and has deprived organised criminals of a considerable sum of money.

The gas canister after it had been opened by officers. Picture: Kent Police
The gas canister after it had been opened by officers. Picture: Kent Police

"There is no place for anyone who travels into Kent with ambitions to supply drugs or commit any other type of crime.

"As Jocius has found out, we have the resources and expertise to proactively target such offenders and will always seek to take the most robust course of action."

The driver of the Sprinter was later found not guilty of any offences by the jury.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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