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23rd February 2023, 15:35

​Four Spanish nationals sent to prison for over three years after being caught with £11 million worth of cannabis

Published by GBC News

Four Spanish nationals have been sent to prison for over three years after being caught with 11 million pounds worth of cannabis.

Francisco Javier Rocca Caballo, Francisco Andres Fernandez Sanchez, Juan Manuel Rivera Montero and Juan Carlos Guitterez Exposito pleaded guilty to the possession of the drugs following an incident in 2021.

Upon sentencing today, the Chief Justice described the quantity of drugs as the most substantial to come before the court in his 13 years in role.

The Spanish nationals are residents of La Linea and Algeciras. In 2021, they were caught with over two tonnes of cannabis after a high speed chase at sea in a RHIB, which resulted in a collision with Customs.

Though they pleaded guilty to possession of the class B drug, they denied they had imported the drugs into Gibraltar.

Earlier this year, all four men were cleared of the importation charge by a jury during a week long trial.

Today, they were sentenced for possession by Chief Justice Anthony Dudley, who said that the maximum sentence of five years was available for cases like these.

He described the quantity of drugs as huge and a case of international drug smuggling.

34 year-old Francisco Javier Rocca Caballo has been determined to be at high risk of similar offences in future. He’s served prison sentences in Morocco and Spain for trafficking.

38 year-old Francisco Andres Fernandez Sanchez is considered to be the same risk.

Both were handed the maximum sentence with a discount for early guilty pleas, landing them with three years and four months in prison.

Fernandez Sanchez will also serve another month concurrently for criminal damage to the customs vessel.

The younger defendants, 22 year-old Juan Manuel Rivera Montero and 23 year-old Juan Carlos Guitterez Exposito, have not been charged for similar offences in the past and were sentenced to three years and two months.

All four have spent around 18 months in prison, which will count towards their time served.

The Chief Justice ordered that the RHIB and the drugs be destroyed.