Corrupt Border Force official convicted for helping drugs gang

Kevin Smith aided smugglers to bring class-A drugs into the country unchecked
15kg of class-A drugs were seized as part of the operation Photo: Metropolitan Police

By Jim Dunton

11 Apr 2024

A corrupt Border Force official who worked with a south London gang smuggling large quantities of class-A drugs into the UK has been convicted of misconduct in public office.

Kevin Smith, aged 37, worked at a booth at Portsmouth Internatonal Port, where he was responsible for searching vehicles and checking passports. However, a joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police investigation found that he was involved with a crime gang that was importing drugs from France by car.

Smith, of Mayfield Road, Portsmouth, was detained by officers from the NCA's anti-corruption unit on August 26 last year. Earlier in the day, a rental car being driven by 46-year-old Caprice Thompson of Brixton had passed through Smith's booth at Portsmouth.

When Met officers stopped the vehicle en route to London, it was found to contain 15kg of MDMA with a street value estimated at £400,000.

A trial that concluded at Kingston Crown Court last week heard that officers had established that Smith was working with Thompson and two other members of the network: 49-year-old Sinan Baki, of Clapham, and 51-year-old David Johnson, also of Clapham.

The Met said the interception had followed weeks of monitoring Thompson's movements, showing her picking up batches of MDMA from France – as well as routes taken by other group members.

It said detectives had downloaded hundreds of messages across multiple encrypted apps creating a timeline to show the different drop off points in south London, mainly near Brixton and Clapham.

The force added that the team had also worked with ferry companies and car rental units to show the direct routes being used to bring the drugs into the area.

The NCA said it had put Smith under surveillance as part of the operation and had obtained CCTV evidence that the official had a number of face-to-face meetings in Portsmouth with Johnson in the run-up to last August's smuggling attempt.

Kevin Smith Photo: NCA
Kevin Smith Photo: NCA

The agency said Smith's relationship with Johnson had begun when he was working as a prison officer in the institution where Johnson had been serving a sentence for drugs importation.

Following Smith’s arrest NCA officers also recovered a mobile phone which he had used to exchange encrypted messages with Johnson.

Smith pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office but was found not guilty of conspiracy to import class-A drugs. Thompson was found guilty of conspiracy to import class-A drugs. Johnson pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to import class-A drugs. Baki admitted supplying class-A drugs but was found not guilty of conspiracy to import them.

The four are due to be sentenced in June.

Dave Rock of the NCA’s Anti-Corruption Unit said Border Force officers had also been involved in the joint operation that brought the gang to court.

"Tackling insider threat and corruption at the border is a priority for the NCA and our partners because it threatens the security of the public," he said.

"Kevin Smith sought to use his privileged access and knowledge of systems and processes to aid this crime group who were able to bring large amounts of class-A into the UK unchecked.  

"This operation demonstrated co-operation in action with the NCA Anti-Corruption Unit, MPS and Border Force officers working together to prevent these drugs reaching the criminal market."

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