VIRGIN MULES; How young clubbers fell for drug smuggler's smooth talk.
THEY were two foolish girls, the best of friends from schooldays, looking for some easy cash and a free holiday in the sun.
But this week Lisa Rozzell and Naomi Draper are both on suicide watch at young offenders' institutes facing at least 10 years behind bars.
The teenagers' fatal mistake was to accept the offer of a Caribbean holiday from Lisa's boyfriend Paul Hill in exchange for bringing back a "special suitcase".
It was later found packed with 6.8kg of the highest purity cocaine, destined for Britain with a street value of pounds 500,000.
The Class A drugs never made it to the street as Lisa, Naomi and friend Stuart Barber were picked up by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Central Task Force.
The jobless youngsters were two of nine British couriers - or "virgin mules" - given lengthy jail sentences this week.
At the trial of her 22-year-old boyfriend, Lisa revealed how she was lured into becoming a drugs mule for just pounds 2,500.
She told how she had been made redundant from her admin job in October 2002 when she met Hill, a bouncer at a Wetherspoons pub in Gosport, Hampshire.
Lisa, 19, also from Gosport, said: "He told me he got girls to bring drugs into the country and I laughed it off at first. He said it was cocaine from the Caribbean.
"He asked if I would import drugs. I was told I'd get pounds 2,500."
She refused but Hill assured her there was only a tiny chance of being caught and a small jail sentence if convicted.
"He even got his mum, who I was told was a nurse, to try to persuade me. Eventually I said I would do it and he told me to dress smart and look like an executive.
"A couple of days before the trip I was told the name of a man I would be going with and we were to pretend we were a couple.
"Paul drove us to Gatwick. We were introduced to a girl called Simone. She handed us our papers, money, tickets and suitcases."
Her first "run" to the Caribbean passed without incident, and her male companion smuggled cocaine hidden in a suitcase into the UK.
She did not carry any drugs but took cash from boyfriend Hill who, she would later find out, was paid pounds 500 for every courier he recruited.
A few months later she was offered a second trip and took best friend Naomi Draper and Stuart Barber, 19, from Portsmouth along ...both recruited by Hill.
But the police were on their trail after being alerted to the drugs plot by 18-year-old Nybee Snaddon, from Stirling, Scotland, a veteran drugs mule, now serving two years in prison for importing cocaine.
As a result, Operation Rosemoor involving the Met, Hampshire Police, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and Customs, swung into action.
They tracked Lisa, Naomi and Barber to a Travel Lodge outside Gatwick Airport. The group flew off to Trinidad and returned a few days later after staying at a villa.
On March 7, 2003, detectives followed them to the Ibis Hotel in Wellingborough, Northants. A dozen officers arrested them, with associate Leslie Garland, and found 6.8 kilos of cocaine in a suitcase.
Lisa and Naomi confessed to police and implicated the gang leaders. Both pleaded guilty to importing cocaine. Lisa got three years and nine months in prison and Naomi seven years and six months.
Lisa and Naomi had been friends since they met at school in Gosport.
Naomi's 38-year-old mother said her daughter was "coping" in Bullwood Hall young offenders institution in Essex. She said: "She was targeted because she was vulnerable." Lisa's mum said her daughter was "naive".
Last week the leader of the drug-smuggling empire, Maureen Frazer, 43, was jailed for 14 years for conspiring to import and supply cocaine. The jury heard how Frazer, who drove a BMW Z3 and wore Versace clothes, recruited girls from her flat in Hampstead, North London.
Police had watched Frazer - on income support - pay pounds 11,000 for two diamond Rolex watches. She and her husband were then trailed to a car park at Luton Airport in December where they met Neil Fenn, 24. Police, seeing Fenn remove his shoes, swooped and arrested all three. They found pounds 7,000 of cocaine in the heel.
Fenn, of Gosport, was sentenced to six years after pleading guilty to importing cocaine.
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THE MRS BIG..IN VERSACE
HIGH LIFE: Maureen Frazer's BMW Z3
DRUG EMPIRE: Jailed Frazer controlled the smugglers
TIME: One of her diamond Rolexes
TARGETED: Lisa was lured into smuggling by her boyfriend; HIDDEN: Cocaine found in shoe; THE BOYFRIEND: Hill recruited Lisa
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Oct 26, 2003|
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