Guernsey Press

Inter-islands drug importation thwarted by joint operation

A drug operation between Guernsey and Jersey has been uncovered after a Guernseyman was jailed for supplying 1.72kg of cannabis and not declaring £16,500 in cash to Jersey.

Last updated

Darren El Mettouri, 41, has been sentenced to four years and four months in prison after he was arrested in Jersey while delivering the cash to a ‘friend’ via a private vessel.

Messages on his phone seized by Jersey Police revealed evidence of a supply chain for cannabis and had at least 13 dealers working for him.

El Mettouri was returned to Guernsey and taken into custody.

He gave differing accounts during interviews in Jersey and Guernsey.

A police search of his home revealed a rucksack under his bed contained 246g of herbal cannabis and a bin liner containing a further 499g of cannabis.

Another bag in his wardrobe contained 84.3g of cannabis.

Five mobile phones were seized, though no evidence was found on them.

The Jerseyman and recipient of the cash was also arrested and was found in possession of the cash and a list of financial figures with initials alongside, linking El Mettouri to the drug operation.

Law Enforcement in the two islands collaborated on the investigation.

Messages used code words and conversations often took place by voice call, making it impossible to calculate exactly how much cannabis the defendant had trafficked.

Between January 2022 and May 2023, officers agreed on a figure of 900g of cannabis had been supplied to others, in addition to the 829.3g found in his home.

Information from his phone also linked him to dealing cannabis resin, as well as herbal cannabis, although no quantity of resin was specified.

The estimate of the local market value of the cannabis was between £69,000 and £86,000.

In the Royal Court, El Mettouri admitted supplying herbal cannabis, cannabis resin and failing to disclose the cash he took to Jersey.

Advocate Christopher Green, who represented him, said that the cannabis had been for his client’s own consumption for pain relief after suffering a back injury some 14 years ago.

He had tried to get medicinal cannabis but was rejected, as he had not tried doctor-prescribed pharmaceuticals due to fears of addiction.

El Mettouri’s record included a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for a similar conviction in 2006, but Advocate Green said that his client had changed and had not been in prison since his 20s.

Letters from friends and family were supplied to the court, as well as one from a woman whose life was saved by El Mettouri during an accident at sea.

Judge Catherine Fooks said that the defendant had moderate likelihood to re-offend and did not challenge her view that he was caught up in a drug chain, with the Jerseyman above him, and his dealers below him.

‘You were dealing for financial gain,’ she said. ‘You have not been honest about how you became so extensively involved in the supply of cannabis.’

She noted aggravating factors such as the resin, previous convictions and lack of co-operation when asked for his phone pin code by Jersey police.

El Mettouri was sentenced to four years in prison for the supply of herbal cannabis and 18 months in prison for the supply of cannabis resin, to be served concurrently.

For the cash control declaration offence he was sentenced to four months in prison, to be served consecutively.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.