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Durban - After more than three years as an awaiting-trial prisoner, the kingpin of a multimillion-rand international drug smuggling syndicate has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
British national Paul Bromley was commended by Durban Regional Court magistrate Anand Maharaj yesterday for taking his lawyer’s advice and admitting to his involvement in dealing in hashish, cocaine and heroin worth more than R600 million. The police found the drugs when they raided five businesses and two homes after receiving a tip-off from the British police after they had confiscated a shipment of curios containing 165kg of heroin at Heathrow airport.
The drugs were packed in curios and empty battery casings for export to Britain.
Bromley, who was arrested in September 2009 with British brothers John and Paul Beasley and South Africans Morganathan Nadasen, Perumal Naidoo and Gopal Ganesh, was the only accused still behind bars, the court heard yesterday.
The Beasleys were deported and released on parole, Nadasen and Naidoo are on parole and Ganesh was acquitted in September after regional magistrate Nanette Otto found there was no evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Ganesh knew about the drugs.
In mitigation of sentence, the court heard that during the time Bromley was in custody, his mother died, his father’s health had deteriorated and he was in a hospice in the UK and had become a grandfather for the second time.
The magistrate, who described Bromley as the “apex” in the hierarchy of the drug trafficking syndicate, took heed of Bromley’s personal circumstances but also emphasised the seriousness of the crime.
Maharaj said Bromley’s change of plea was his first step to taking responsibility for his crimes.