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Jail for English drugs courier who tried to bring cocaine worth £700,000 into Wales

22 Nov 2022 2 minute read
Mark Buchanan, caught after he tried to bring £700,000 of cocaine into Wales. Inset pictures: The substances seized and how the vehicle was modified to traffic the drugs. Pictures: South Wales Police.

An English drugs courier caught trying to bring cocaine worth £700,000 into Wales has been jailed for 16 years.

Mark Buchanan, 42, who was involved in a large-scale drugs network, was sentenced following an investigation by Tarian, the southern Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Buchanan, a courier travelling from Liverpool, was arrested on 23 September on the M5 near Birmingham. 

Buchanan is a Liverpool-based member of an organised crime group supplying drugs into Wales and the South West. 

7kgs of cocaine, worth approximately £700,000, was located in a front passenger seat bulkhead when the vehicle was searched.

Buchanan’s vehicle was adapted to hide the substances within the rear floor of the van; he was also wearing a delivery company uniform at the time of his arrest to avoid detection.

He had been identified as previously coming to South Wales and so was targeted on the M5 motorway on his next journey, with support of West Mercia Police.

The arrest and conviction is part of the wider Operation Bismuth, a proactive Automatic Number Plate Recognition operation led by the Regional Disruption Team in Tarian.

Messages on an encrypted app on the phone taken from Buchanan show that he made several other deliveries.

Detective Sergeant Mark Burge said: “The team’s relentless pursuit of OCGs across the UK supplying drugs into southern Wales has resulted in a significant custodial sentence for Buchanan and demonstrates the benefit of Tarian’s Op Bismuth in keeping our communities safe.”

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