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Men charged following £30,000 drug seizure

31 July 2012

Drugs valued at about £30,000 were seized by Customs and Immigration on Saturday 28 July.

Officers seized a small commercial quantity of Cannabis resin and approximately 300 Subutex tablets from 2 men who had just arrived from France in a small private vessel.

The men were arrested and charged with offences under Jersey customs legislation. They appeared in the Magistrate's Court on Monday 30 July.

The charges followed a separate seizure in France of commercial quantities of Cannabis resin, Subutex and Valium on Wednesday 25 July. 2 Jersey residents were arrested as they tried to leave a port on the Brittany coast in a private boat. They were both sentenced last Saturday by the French Court in St Malo to 10 months imprisonment and a 10,000 euro fine. The drugs seized in France had an approximate Jersey value of £103,000.

The Director of Law Enforcement for the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service, David Nurse, said “While a priority of the service is the seizure of Class A drugs and the arrest of people involved in its importation, Subutex is a drug of concern as we are aware that there is a growing illicit local market for this particular drug. These seizures represent the largest quantity of Subutex that we have encountered up to this time.”

The Director of the States of Jersey Alcohol and Drug Service, Michael Gafoor, said “Subutex, also known as buprenorphine, is used as a substitute drug to wean drug users off heroin and other opiates. It is dispensed by daily supervised consumption in order to prevent leakage on the streets. There is evidence that Subutex is currently more widely available on the streets than heroin with one 8 milligram tablet selling for £80.

"Although Subutex is prescribed in tablet form, many drug users prefer injecting it which can lead to abscesses, septicaemia and thrombosis. Subutex can also be fatal in combination with other sedative drugs such as benzodiazepines and alcohol.”

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