Denis Obasi, pictured inset, smuggled spices into prisons using fake legal letters. (Image: SWROCU)
A prisoner used fake legal letters to smuggle illegal drugs into prisons.
Dennis Obasi and his then-girlfriend, Emily MacArthur, smuggled the Class B drugs into prisons using fake stamps to produce fake legal letters coated in spice, a synthetic cannabinoid.
They also concealed drugs in packages intended for the prisoners and used the visits to smuggle them inside.
The couple were arrested in February 2020 at MacArthur’s flat in Trowbridge where £50,000 worth of spice powder was discovered.
Spice recovered from MacArthur’s flat in Trowbridge (Image: SWROCU)
Obasi was sentenced to more than eleven years in prison on Friday November 11 after admitting three counts of drugs and possession of criminal property.
MacArthur meanwhile remains at large, having skipped bail following her guilty pleas to charges of importing Class A drugs. Police today renewed their appeal for the public’s help in locating her.
Swindon Crown Court heard on Friday how Obasi, 27, was being held in Peterborough Jail when the plot began.
Obasi (Image: SWROCU)
The investigation began when Border Force agents stopped three packages filled with cocaine from Jamaica addressed to MacArthur at addresses in Frome and Bristol.
Officers from the South West Organized Crime Unit – a conglomeration of police forces in the area – and the Metropolitan Police raided the apartment of Trowbridge, 31, in February 2020, arresting him and Obasi .
They found it had been turned into a drugs factory and recovered £50,000 of spice powder, 116 sheets of spice-soaked paper – worth £48,000 or more in prisons – a box containing six bottles of acetone and 1.86 kg of marshmallow leaves.
The spice is consumed by spraying it on a leaf which can be burned and smoked.
Detectives also recovered seven forged stamps, stacks of envelopes and other letters.
Fake stamps used for legal letters (Image: SWROCU)
They searched Obasi’s phone and found nearly 23,000 messages to his girlfriend, many of which focused on how to smuggle drugs through prisons.
Obasi would provide MacArthur with the names and prisoner numbers of inmates at Peterborough and Bristol jails who wanted spice-infused letters.
Less than a month after his release, Obasi then became involved in drug trafficking in the counties, recruiting vulnerable people and teenagers to sell him.
He cuckolded flats in Bath Road, Bristol and in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, with more than £5,000 in crack and £6,000 in cash seized.
In Abingdon, officers discovered two teenagers, aged 14 and 17, working as drug dealers.
Obasi was jailed for eleven years and seven months by KC Judge Jason Taylor on Friday, after pleading guilty to conspiring to supply a controlled drug to prisons, being involved in supplying heroin and crack cocaine and possession of criminal property.
Meanwhile, MacArthur, formerly of Charlotte Square in Trowbridge, remains at large, having previously admitted to conspiring to supply spices to prisons and importing a Class A drug.
Police are still looking for Emily MacArthur (Image: SWROCU)
Metropolitan Police Service PC Alex Furniss said: ‘The messages, believed to be part of the investigation, showed that Obasi would provide MacArthur with the names and numbers of prisoners for those who wanted to receive or were willing to accept spice infused letters.
“The messages also showed lengthy exchanges about the methods MacArthur used to make spices, as well as their desire to make big profits from their businesses, including working more closely together once Obasi was released from prison.”
DCI Charlotte Tucker of SWROCU said: ‘Today’s sentence reflects an enormous amount of work by our teams and the Met, supported by our partners, to bring Obasi to justice.
“His offense shows his willingness to exploit anyone, in any way, in pursuit of his own profits, regardless of the exploitation and damage it has caused. The guilty pleas testify to the strength of the evidence that we have collectively gathered against him.
“Emily MacArthur has also pleaded guilty to conspiring with Obasi to supply spices to prisons as well as importing cocaine. The messages between them show their shared desire to make money. It too needs to be translated in court and I hope people will provide information to help us do just that.