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Leader of £58m Hunsdon drug smuggling ring jailed

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionThe drugs were hidden under a consignment of small value goods such as spider catchers

A man said to have run the UK arm of a "truly massive" international drug-smuggling operation has been jailed.

Cocaine and heroin worth £58m was shipped from Holland in 39 deliveries to a business unit on a Hertfordshire farm, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Robert Brooks, 50, from Hertford, had pleaded guilty to two charges and was sentenced to 21 years.

Police called it the East of England's biggest-ever drug operation, and three other men were jailed last week.

Brooks, of Elder Court, was described as the "managing director" of the English end of the enterprise that was connected to Europe and further afield, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to fraudulently evade the prohibition on the importation of a Class A drugs and possession of criminal property.

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionRobert Brooks would sometimes direct the operation from Spain, the court heard

The global operation, based in a rented unit at Little Samuels Farm, in Hunsdon, was the largest ever drugs conspiracy investigated by the Eastern Regions Special Operations Unit.

Last August, officers intercepted the final two deliveries out of 39 and seized 70kg (154lb) of cocaine and 45kg (99lb) of heroin.

The drugs were hidden at the bottom of a consignment of small-value goods such as spider catchers.

Judge Michael Kay QC described it as a "truly massive operation" and, passing sentence, said: "Class A drugs destroy lives of those who are addicted to them, they destroy the lives of families of those who are addicted.

"Those who make money from such misery and degradation of fellow citizens will achieve substantial prison sentence. The business is not just illegal, it is immoral and despicable."

Related Topics

  • Drugs trade
  • Hertfordshire Constabulary

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  • Three jailed for roles in £58m Hunsdon drug smuggling ring