Man who conspired to smuggle spice into prisons including HMP Bristol jailed for 11 years

Dennis Obasi

A man who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply spice into prisons across the region has been jailed for 11 years and seven months.

Dennis Obasi, aged 27 and of no fixed abode, also pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine and possession of criminal property.

It follows an investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) and the Metropolitan Police Service supported by UK Border Force, HMPPS, along with Wiltshire Police and Avon and Somerset Police.

The investigation found that whilst he was an inmate at HMP Peterborough and after his release, Obasi conspired with then girlfriend Emily MacArthur, 31, previously of Charlotte Square, Trowbridge, to smuggle drugs into prisons including HMP Peterborough and HMP Bristol.

The pair used fake stamps to produce bogus confidential legal letters coated with spice, concealed drugs in packages for prisoners, and used prison visitors to smuggle the drugs inside.

Police found drugs during their investigations.

The investigation into Obasi and MacArthur began when officers from UK Border Force stopped three separate parcels, all sent from Jamaica, which were addressed to MacArthur at addresses in Frome and Bristol. They were all found to contain cocaine.

Officers from SWROCU and the Metropolitan Police Service carried out a warrant at MacArthur’s Trowbridge flat in February 2020 where both she and Obasi were arrested.

Evidence there showed the flat was being used to produce spice in substantial quantities, with £50,000 worth of spice powder, 116 sheets of paper soaked in spice – worth £48,000 or more in prison – a box containing six bottles of acetone, and 1.86kg of marshmallow leaves seized. Also found were seven fake stamps, piles of envelopes and further letters.

Prisons and Probation Minister Damian Hinds said: “This sentencing highlights the tireless commitment of our hardworking prison staff and police to cracking down on drugs behind bars.

“Drugs such as spice make it more difficult for us to rehabilitate offenders and cut crime which is why we have invested £125 million to keep our prisons secure and drugs out.”