DEC 13 (NEWARK, N.J.) - Robert G. Koval, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Paul J. Fishman, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, announced a man from Great Britain made his initial court appearance today following his extradition to face charges he conspired to smuggle cocaine hidden in the retractable handrails of luggage aboard commercial airlines from the West Indies to England via the United States.
Prine George Alfonso Jones, a/k/a “Prince,” 46, of Birmingham, Great Britain, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor on a superseding Indictment charging him with conspiracy to import and to export cocaine. Jones was arrested on Feb. 4, 2009, in Great Britain, for allegedly transporting narcotics directly from St. Lucia to Great Britain.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The conspiracy involved drug couriers from the United States, including Tajara Barnes and Genard Howard, who would travel to Jamaica and St. Lucia, where Roger Folkes, his brother, Romeo Folkes, and co-conspirator Mervin Francis would provide cocaine hidden in the handrails of the couriers’ luggage. The couriers would return to the United States carrying the cocaine-filled luggage, where co-conspirator Cortnie Spencer would take possession of the luggage containing the cocaine and deliver it to couriers who were scheduled to travel to Great Britain. Once in Great Britain, the couriers would deliver the cocaine to Jones, Nigel Roberts and others in exchange for payment.
The superseding Indictment stems from a multi-jurisdictional and international investigation into the alleged narcotics trafficking ring. The status of the other six individuals charged in the superseding Indictment is as follows:
Nigel Roberts, a/k/a “Skang,” 33, of Birmingham, England, pleaded guilty to Count One of the superseding Indictment, charging conspiracy to import and export five kilos or more of cocaine, on Oct. 21, 2009, and was sentenced to 80 months in prison on Nov. 15, 2010. Cortnie Spencer, a/k/a “Skippy,” 34, of Queens, N.Y., pleaded guilty to Count One of the superseding Indictment, charging conspiracy to import and export five kilos or more of cocaine, on April 19, 2010, and was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Sept. 30, 2011.
Mervin Francis, 35, of Jamaica, was extradited from Great Britain and appeared in federal court on September 21, 2009. On April 27, 2010, Francis pleaded guilty to a superseding Information charging him with conspiracy to import and export cocaine. Francis admitted that once the narcotics were received in Great Britain, he received Western Union transfers on behalf of the conspirators that were sent as payment for the drugs. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison on August 9, 2010.
Tajara Barnes, 35, and Genard Howard, 35, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., were first arrested in London on May 6, 2008. On April 27, 2010, Barnes and Howard both pleaded guilty to a superseding Information charging them with conspiracy to import and to export cocaine. Barnes and Howard admitted to conspiring to travel from the United States to St. Lucia on April 24, 2008, for the purpose of bringing back narcotics on May 1, 2008. While in St. Lucia, they received narcotics from individuals including Francis. They admitted to then traveling from New York to London on May 5, 2008, with narcotics hidden in their suitcases. Howard was sentenced to 60 months in prison on November 15, 2010. Barnes was sentenced to 25 months in prison on Feb. 28, 2011.
Brothers Roger Folkes, a/k/a “Kirk,” 42, and Romeo Folkes, a/k/a “Rocky,” 29, of Jamaica, West Indies, were extradited from Jamaica on Nov. 23, 2010. Roger Folkes pleaded guilty to the Indictment on May 2, 2011 and was sentenced to 120 months in prison on Oct. 24, 2011. Romeo Folkes pleaded guilty to the Indictment on May 16, 2011 and was sentenced to 70 months in prison on Oct. 31, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees; and the DEA, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA, New Jersey, Robert G. Koval, in coordination with police officers with the West Midlands Police Complex Casework Unit in Birmingham; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, HSI Attaché, Kingston, Jamaica; and officers of the United Kingdom Border Agency and the Jamaican Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT), which is composed of officers of the Jamaican Police and the U.S. Marshals Service, in Kingston, Jamaica – for the investigation leading to the extradition. He also thanked the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs for its assistance in effecting the extradition.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric W. Moran of the U.S.
Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the
defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.