British lorry driver jailed for six years in Spain after drugs found in his vehicle
A British lorry driver has been sentenced to jail in Spain for six and a half years and fined 3.1 million euros for drug offences, after he was caught with cocaine, marijuana, and hashish worth 1.2 million euros in boxes in his truck.
The Andalucía High Court (TSJA) has rejected his appeal in the case that dates back to 1st June 2020, when Spain had just come out of the Covid-19 lockdown, but many restrictions on mobility were still in force.
The Guardia Civil had been investigating a suspected drug case and believed a house on an industrial estate in the town of Alhaurín el Grande in Malaga, was being used as a base by traffickers. During a routine patrol they saw a rented van drive out of the premises so they followed it, and it led them to Venta Pula, in a fairly isolated spot in the municipality of Ojén at about 8.30pm.
There, they saw that a lorry parked outside a house and, according to the court documents, “persons unknown” then unloaded numerous boxes from the van into the lorry before driving off. At this point, the officers approached the lorry and told the driver, who was British, that they wanted to search the vehicle.
When they opened it, they found that it contained nothing but the boxes, which were full of packages of cocaine, marijuana, and hashish with a market value of over 1.2 million euros. The driver, who is also the joint owner of the lorry with his wife, was arrested.
The British man appealed against his original prison sentence because he said he had no idea what was in the boxes, he said his company had been contracted to transport something to the UK and normal due diligence had been carried out, so it was not his responsibility to check the contents.
The court that first heard his case was not convinced by this argument and said that anybody who places themselves in a situation of deliberate ignorance must automatically accept the consequences. The Andalusian High Court judge agreed and ordered that he should serve his prison term and pay the fine.