Two men who were part of a plot to smuggle multi-kilos of cocaine and amphetamine in a laser cutting machine have been jailed after a National Crime Agency investigation.
Sundeep Singh Rai, 37, and accomplice Billy Hayre, 43, belonged to an organised crime group (OCG) responsible for the drugs - 30 kilos of cocaine and 30 kilos of amphetamine - being smuggled to the UK on a cargo plane from Mexico.
NCA investigators knew about the importation and provided intelligence to partners in Border Force who found the drugs after the flight landed at Heathrow Airport on 26 May last year.
The haul of Class A was removed and seized. NCA investigators allowed the empty consignment to run and monitored it.
They watched as more than a week later on 8 June it was collected from a cargo holding area by a white Mercedes van and driven to the Greet Green Industrial Estate in West Bromwich.
Rai, of Okehampton Drive, West Bromwich, and Hayre, of Hathersage Road, Birmingham, met the Mercedes van and unloaded the shipment into an industrial unit.
The day after, Rai and Hayre – who both worked as housing officers at Sandwell Council – took delivery of another drugs shipment. The men met a heavy goods vehicle back at the industrial estate carrying a coverload of bananas. As the pair began unloading it, NCA officers supported by West Midlands Police officers, arrested them.
More than nine kilos of cocaine hidden in a cardboard box was also found in Rai’s car. Around two kilos of methylmethcathinone – also known by the street name of Meow Meow - was found in the garage of Rai’s home.
And a property he rented in Balfour Crescent, Wolverhampton, was also searched where officers found 250 grams of heroin, 700 ecstasy tablets, a cash counting machine and a dealing list.
Rai and Hayre initially denied charges of conspiracy to supply class A drugs but changed their pleas to guilty just before a trial was due to start at Wolverhampton Crown Court on 7 February.
They were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment respectively at the same court today (25 August). The judge described the defendants’ version of events as ‘preposterous’.
What has the NCA said about the case?
NCA Operations Manager Chris Duplock said: “Rai and Hayre were behind a sophisticated attempt to smuggle class A drugs from Mexico on to the streets of the UK.
“I have no doubt that had we not stopped them, they would have used this route repeatedly to bring in more drugs.
“Working with partners at home and abroad, we will do all we can to disrupt the supply of class A drugs which are inextricably linked to gang violence and real suffering across UK communities.”