Antiques dealers behaving badly

Chalk these up under the ‘Business Must Be Tough’ category. It seems a few U.S. and UK antiques dealers have turned to other business endeavors to supplement their sales of antiques and collectibles. The trouble is both involve guns or drugs.

Dealer Horace Dixon Jr. of Glassboro, N.J., was arrested Aug. 13 after undercover police purchased high-powered weapons from him during the past six weeks. Authorities from the New Jersey State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spent a day searching his home, which was surrounded by antiques and rusted old cars. More than 50 weapons were confiscated from the home.

The search took place after Dixon sold state troopers six weapons that were far from antiques. They included an Israeli military assault rifle, a Marlin “Bull Pup” 9 mm assault rifle and a Norinco SKS .556 caliber, as reported by the Philadelphia Daily News.

Confiscating the 50-plus weapons saved someone’s life, said Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The weapons sold to our undercover trooper have one primary use, and that’s to kill people,” he said in a release.

Across the pond, an antiques dealer from Coventry England used a business to cover for an international marijuana smuggling operation.

Christopher Woodings, aged 27, is facing a decade behind bars for his role in the scam, which brought the equivalent to more than $30 million (£19 million) worth of cannabis into the UK from Thailand. It involved hiding packages of cannabis inside the false bottoms of metal water filters, which were loaded on to crates and flown from Thailand into Heathrow Airport.

Woodings’ fiancée and their three-year-old child were fooled into thinking that his money was made legitimately by the antiques business.

Woodings was arrested following an undercover police sting. Authorities were tipped off after two consignments were searched at Heathrow Airport in June 2007. Customs officials alerted police who then allowed deliveries to continue.

The deliveries were tracked to Woodings’ business. While the drugs were being unloaded police officers swooped in and arrested Woodings. He later admitted to being paid about $117,000 USD (£72,000 pounds) for his role.