Members of an organized crime gang who smuggled at least £135 million worth of drugs into the UK under the guise of a furniture removals company are facing years behind bars.
The gang, which operated from West Midlandsbrought nearly two tonnes of cocaine, heroin and ketamine into the UK through the ports using a furniture removals company as a front, West Midlands Police said.
The four men used lots of furniture to hide packages of drugs in trucks and vans, some of which had hidden compartments.
The force said ringleader Jonathan Arnold enjoyed a life of luxury, including trips to Dubai where he was filmed driving a Ferrari.
The gang was busted after several drug busts between January and June last year.
During a drug run to Europe in a real estate moving van in January, one of his couriers (who cannot be named for legal reasons) had his van searched by French customs officers, who found 63 blocks of cocaine along with 99 bags of ketamine. which had a UK wholesale value of more than £2.5m, police said.
The biggest seizure came in April when the gang tried to smuggle 1,477 kilos of cocaine with a street value of around £118m into Portsmouth hidden in banana trees, but the drug was seized by police officers Dutch police on a boat that had traveled from Colombia. in the Netherlands.
In June, another of the gang’s drivers, Connor Fletcher, traveled to a town near Amsterdam for an overnight trip and returned with 60 kilograms of cocaine hidden in two secret compartments built into the floor of the truck.
Investigations by West Midlands Police had linked him to the gang, so the force asked the Border Force to intercept him on his return and he was arrested.
Four men face years behind bars
Arnold, 29, of Cremorne Road, Sutton Coldfield, admitted four counts of conspiracy to import and supply drugs, namely heroin and ketamine.
James Jenkins, 25, of Lichfield Steet, Tamworth, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply and import cocaine.
Connor Fletcher, 25, of Bridgnorth Road, Wolverhampton, and Humayan Sadiq, 43, of Manchester, were both found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine.
The force said Jenkins oversaw the operation, Fletcher was a driver and Sadiq had planned to move the cocaine brought to Portsmouth from Colombia.
Jack Bishop, 31, and Ryan Hatton, 27, both from Staffordshire, were found not guilty of the drug charges against them.
Detective Chief Superintendent Jenny Skyrme said: “We cannot underestimate the scale and importance of this criminal organisation. This is the biggest drug case we have ever dealt with as an organisation.
“The gang operated at the highest levels of criminality, supplying industrial quantities of drugs to be sold on the streets of the West Midlands and beyond.
“As the head of the criminal group, Jonathan Arnold enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, driving luxury cars and enjoying trips to Dubai.
“He gave the impression that he was a legitimate businessman with a small business moving furniture and turning over £50,000 a month.
“The reality was that he was arranging for tens of millions of pounds of drugs to be imported into the UK from Europe and South America, which would have caused untold misery and significant damage to communities.”
The men will be sentenced at a later date.