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Freight worker and accomplice caught importing 10kg of cannabis

Freight worker and accomplice caught importing 10kg of cannabis

Thursday 30 July 2020

Freight worker and accomplice caught importing 10kg of cannabis

Two men involved with the importation of almost 10kg of cannabis have been sent to Les Nicolles Prison for a combined 13-and-a-half years.

Thomas Batiste, 35, and Phil Le Moigne, 36, have each been sentenced to six years and nine months in prison by the Royal Court.

The cannabis they were attempting to import had a local street value of £193,000 to £290,000, based on a valuation of £20-30 per gram. 

Le Moigne and Batiste had a joint charge of importing cannabis in February. Batiste had two separate charges, one for possession of cannabis and another for failing to disclose his pin code to the police. 

Le Moigne, who worked for freight firm Profreight at the time, was overseeing the unloading of trailers from a Portsmouth-Guernsey sailing on 26 February.

He was responsible for checking what had been loaded against the items on the manifest.


Pictured: Batiste and Le Moigne were sentenced in the Royal Court by Judge Russell Finch and the Jurats.

CCTV showed Le Moigne carrying a cardboard box across the yard - marked by an 'X' on two of the sides - which was not on the manifest and that he took to a parked Hyundai. 

Batiste arrived in a taxi and went over to Hyundai and tried to lift open the boot, which was locked. He went back to the taxi, before returning to the parked car and trying the boot again and one of the rear passenger doors. At that point, Le Moigne, approached with the keys and handed over the cardboard box to Batiste, which he put into the taxi. 

However, officers arrived and both men were apprehended and arrested at the scene. 

The cardboard box was examined and six clear vacuum-sealed bags were found inside. They contained varying quantities of cannabis totalling 9,681g.

The two men's home addresses were also searched. At Batiste's, officers found a coffee jar and grinder containing a total of 11.01g of cannabis. 

At Le Moigne's they found a tin under his bed containing £39,990 in cash, plus a further £5,095 in a locked safe. 

Batiste refused to provide officers with the pin code to his phone, instructing his Advocate Phoebe Cobb that it contained messages and discussions about cannabis use generally, and that he didn't want to get those people in trouble. 

WhatsApp messages between Le Moigne, Batiste and a third party in Portsmouth were found on Le Moigne's phone which confirmed the correspondence between the three individuals. Messages read out in court quoted the third party in Portsmouth saying they would "send today" on the morning of the importation, and sharing photographs of the cardboard box that was later handled by Le Moigne and Batiste.

Advocate Cobb said the third party, who was known to Le Moigne, had been the "instigator".

"Batiste was essentially a cog in the wheel," she told the Court.

mobile phone text dark

Pictured: WhatsApp messages on Le Moigne's phone showed the communication between him, Batiste and the person who "instigated" the importation in Portsmouth.

Advocate Cobb said her client had suffered a life-changing injury in an accident when he was 13, which had left him with chronic and significant pain on a daily basis.

Batiste instructed that the medication available from the doctors did not help and spoke about how cannabis helped to relieve that pain. He had reportedly been told he could keep some of the cannabis for personal use if he helped out. 

Defence Advocate Liam Roffey said his client, Le Moigne, had been a trusted staff member at Profreight who had been approached by a third party.

"The temptation of financial award got the better of him," he admitted. Le Moigne was reportedly offered £12,000 for his role in the importation. 

Le Moigne had an "unblemished character" with no substantive offending before this. Advocate Roffey emphasised the Probation Officer's view that the consequences of Le Moigne's actions would have a destabilising effect on his life.

In sentencing, Judge Russell Finch said Le Moigne had breached a position of responsibility as a long-serving employee for the freight company.

"We are shocked by the shameful betrayal of trust," he said. 

Le Moigne was sentenced to six years, nine months for the joint importation charge.

Batiste was sentenced to six years for that charge, plus an extra nine months for failing to disclose his mobile's pin number to officers.

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