Drugs pair made millions importing cocaine into Portsmouth, but must only pay back £10

From left, Michael Ebanks and Mark West
From left, Michael Ebanks and Mark West

‘All I can say is these were broken men...’

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TWO men who helped import millions of pounds worth of cocaine into Portsmouth have each been ordered to repay just £10.

Michael Ebanks and Mark West have 28 days to pay the sum – despite making about £2m each from their lives of crime.

Ebanks was initially sentenced to 15 years in jail at Portsmouth Crown Court for conspiracy to fraudulently evade the prohibition on the importation of cocaine between April 2011 and October 2012. Meanwhile his accomplice West received a 14-year jail term for conspiracy to import cocaine.

However the men’s sentences were increased to 20 and 19 years respectively by the Court of Appeal in London last month.

Ebanks, 33, of Bromley, Kent, was arrested at Portsmouth International Port on October 18 last year after he was found with 52kg of high-purity cocaine.

The drugs, brought over from Spain, had a street value of between £4.8m and £10.4m.

The cocaine was being smuggled hidden in crates of recycled rubber, which Ebanks claimed was for resale to tyre companies.

Ebanks had denied taking part in the conspiracy, saying he had been duped by others.

But a jury found him guilty of the charge following a trial.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Ebanks had made several trips to Malaga to organise the import of the drugs, and had made repeated journeys to a remote farm in West Sussex where drugs were stored.

Meanwhile, West Purley, Surrey, pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy.

During a confiscation hearing the court heard that the benefit of the conspiracy was £2,068,139.86 to Ebanks and £1,946,839.08 to West, but the available amount from each of the men is a nominal sum of £10.

Recorder John Trevaskis ordered that Ebanks and West should each serve an extra one day in prison if they do not pay the full £10 within the next 28 days.