A drug trafficker from the West Midlands who tried to bring a £300,000 haul of cocaine into the UK five years after losing another consignment has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Michael Kellar, 58, of Park Road in Bilston was arrested by Border Force officers at Birmingham Airport on 3 April 2017 after tins of dried milk powder containing almost four kilos of cocaine were found in his luggage.
He had just arrived on a flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Kellar had previously been arrested, but never charged, in connection with a previous importation of cocaine into Gatwick Airport in March 2012.
On that occasion officers carried out checks on a suitcase that had been apparently abandoned on the baggage carousel. Inside they found 4.7 kilos of liquid cocaine, potential street value £375,000, inside tins of fruit punch. The suitcase had Kellar’s name on it, but he was nowhere to be seen.
In March 2013 Kellar flew back into the UK again from Jamaica, and arrested and questioned by National Crime Agency officers in connection with the 2012 importation. He denied any knowledge, had no drugs in his possession and in the absence of further evidence prosecutors decided not to charge him. The investigation remained open, and Kellar left the country.
He came back onto the NCA’s radar following his arrest in April 2017 and on this occasion he was charged in connection with both importations.
Kellar was found guilty following a six day trial, and on Wednesday 4 October he was sentenced to 13 years in prison by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court.
The court heard how he had previous convictions for possessing and supplying crack cocaine.
Dawn Cartwright, NCA Birmingham operations manager, said:
“Kellar might have thought that he’d got away with the first importation, but he never dropped off our radar and given his criminal history it seemed only a matter of time before he’d try it again.
“He claimed the fact two consignments of cocaine could be linked to him five years apart was pure coincidence, but clearly the jury looked at the strength of the evidence we put before them, saw through that charade and saw fit to convict him."
“Cocaine is a drug which fuels further crime, violence and exploitation so by stopping it reaching the streets and taking out a supplier like Kellar who plays a key part in that organised criminal chain, we have protected the public.”