St Helier jeweller guilty of laundering drug gang's cash
A MAN accused of laundering a crime gang's money through his Central Market jewellery business has been found guilty of all charges.
Darius Pearce faced three counts of becoming concerned in the acquisition, use, possession or control of criminal property.
The charges stemmed from a foiled plot to smuggle almost £1 million-worth of class A and B drugs into the Island in June which led to seven people being jailed for a combined total of 74 years for their role in the conspiracy.
Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit, prosecuting, said it was the prosecution's case that Pearce played a pivotal role in the operation by paying the gang's dirty money into his bank account before using it to buy gold bullion over the phone from metals dealers in London.
He alleged that Pearce – and sometimes members of the gang – would then pick up the gold before converting it back into cash.
However, addressing the court, Pearce argued that he had no knowledge or suspicion regarding the gang's activities until after they had been arrested.
He added that he and his clients often arranged to pick up gold in the UK to avoid having to pay GST.
After being found guilty by the Jurats, Pearce was remanded into custody.