It wasn't as interesting as Cleopatra, but it was still pretty cool

Industrial pipes look like this, doncha know. Photo: Alvaro Vega F.

Industrial pipes look like this, doncha know. Photo: Alvaro Vega F.

The most interesting thing ever to be hidden in a carpet was Cleopatra in 47BCE, a ruse she employed to escape the attentions of Pharaoh Ptolemy’s guards and meet Julius Caesar. Perhaps the second most interesting thing was £24 million of dope that was concealed in industrial tubes.


The smugglers established a company, Mogafish Flooring, to purchase and transport the carpets and their £24 million of dope across Europe using legitimate hauling companies. In six months, around 2.5 tons of the stuff was imported to the United Kingdom. This criminal venture came to light in September 2015 when police came upon a lorry containing 772lbs of high-grade skunk cannabis that originated in the Netherlands.


47-year-old Lee Jones of Ongar, Essex and 42-year-old Martin Beckett of Theydon Bois, Essex were arrested when they went to collect the rugs and drugs. It was Jones who purchased the materials to conceal the drugs in the course of a number of trips to the Netherlands. The drugs that made it were stored in a rented warehouse in Essex prior to their handing over to big-time dealers. 28-year-old Stuart Openshaw of Hampshire paid cash to the bank account of Mogafish. 44-year-old John Euesden of Loughton, Essex was arrested at Southend Airport as he flew in from Malaga, with a search of his home uncovering £40,000 in his loft. Another gang member was 35-year-old Marc Howell of Brent, London, who also possessed two-and-a-bit ounces of cocaine and less than one ounce of ketamine with intent to supply and had £10,000 lying around.

Just desserts

The men were convicted of conspiracy to import and supply £24 million of dope at Wood Green Crown Court, with Openshaw also convicted of money laundering and supplying cocaine. Beckett was sentenced to nine years and 10 months of chokey, Euesden and Jones received nine years and three months while Openshaw was sent away for two years and nine months. Howell is yet to be sentenced.

One chuffed copper

DS Tom Mallinson of Waltham Forest CID declared himself ?delighted? at the convictions of these individuals, proclaiming it to be ?a clear message to those who think importing and supplying Class A and B drugs is a way to earn a living.? He went further: ?Complex conspiracy ? blah blah blah ? criminal activity ? yadda yadda yadda ? sophisticated network ? rhubarb rhubarb.?

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