It will be at least 2036 before convicted drug smuggler Scott Felix Jones can ever set foot again in his native Devil’s Bridge.
The 39-year-old former electrician, who still has close family ties to the wider Aberystwyth area, was sentenced on Friday to 25 years in prison by a court in Western Australia for his part in a scheme to import nearly AUS$1 billion — £540 million — in drugs in a yacht that sailed half-way around the world.
Jones must serve at least 17 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
During sentencing submissions earlier in July, Australian prosecutors had wanted a life sentence for the drugs baron.
Jones was part of a ring that tried to smuggle cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy into Australia before their yacht Zero ran aground and an elephant seal blocked them as they tried to flee from police.
Graham Palmer, a former roofer and builder from Swansea, who sailed with the yacht from Durban, was sentenced to 22 years behind bars, but he is eligible for parole in 15 years’ time.
The group attempted their daring plot in September 2019 after hatching the plan in Thailand and Palmer, along with skipper Antoine Dicenta, 53, who has admitted his guilt but not yet been sentenced, set sail from Madagascar.
The Zero picked up 380kg of cocaine, 344kg of MDMA and 171kg of methamphetamine in Durban, South African. The vessel ran aground in the Abrolhos Islands, off the coast of Geraldton in Western Australia
Palmer and his accomplice were arrested, while the three men on the other boat, American Jason Lassiter, Angus Jackson from New South Wales and Jones, were arrested days later in Perth.
Palmer pleaded guilty to importing the drugs, while the other three men were convicted by a jury after a lengthy trial.
On Friday in the Australia Supreme Court, Jackson and Lassiter were sentenced to 33 years jail, with a non-parole period of 23 years.
The men’s sentences were backdated to the time of their arrest in 2019, and Lassiter, Jones and Palmer are likely to be deported from Australia when they are released.
If you’d like to help shape how that may look and secure some free credits if we do go live then please register here.
CommentsTo leave a comment you need to create an account. |