Retired Brit expat couple caught with £2 millions’ worth of cocaine

Published:  13 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, USA, Caribbean
An unsuspecting retired British expat couple in Spain were almost coerced into becoming part of a drug-smuggling plot by the promise of a free cruise.

British expats Paul and Pauline Craven were living in retirement on the Costa Blanca when they were offered a free Caribbean cruise by Susan and Roger Clarke. Pauline was working as a part-time cleaner for the Clarkes at their home in Alicante when the offer was made, conditional on the purchase in the Caribbean of four cheap designer rip-off suitcases by the Cravens. According to Pauline, Roger Clarke was an importer of pineapples from the Caribbean, and wanted the couple to come on the cruise as company for his wife when he was on shore doing business.

To Paul and Pauline, the offer was a dream come true, and they happily accepted as well as agreeing to buy the suitcases and sell them at a profit in Harrods, even after they were told to pack their clothes in them. However, common sense began to dawn when the couple discovered Harrods didn’t stock the suitcases, and they decided to refuse the free holiday. Pauline was sacked from her cleaning job shortly after their refusal. Now, they’re relieved they decided against the trip as the Cravens were arrested for drug smuggling when their cruise ship docked in Portugal.

According to Portuguese police, the Clarkes had purchased and loaded four suitcases onto the cruise ship at St Lucia, and were arrested in Lisbon by officers who boarded the vessel as soon as it docked. Nine kilos of cocaine were found in the cases’ false bottoms, with an estimated street value of around £2 million. The police acted after a tip-off from their British counterparts, with Susan now being held in a women’s prison in Tires and her husband in a Lisbon jail.

According to the arresting officers, they didn’t wait for the handover as they needed to make certain the drugs were seized as well as protecting the investigation. Back in Spain, a neighbour of the Clarkes told reporters Roger was known for his bullshit regarding his import/export business, with locals believing it was just another lie.
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