Three people jailed over £ 4.5million conspiracy to smuggle drugs locked in aquariums

Three men have been jailed for a total of 40 years after being convicted of using a moving company as a screen for an international drug trafficking plot.

Mark Youell, 64, of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was recorded telling Alfred Rumbold, 65, from Orpington, Kent, and 73-year-old moving driver Brian Wright “We’re going to hit the jackpot”, while plotting to import 55kg of Class A drugs with a market value of £ 4.5million into aquariums.

In a series of tapes made by the National Crime Agency (NCA), Youell also told the men that they were going to make a “f ****** mega dough” with the scheme.

According to the NCA, Wright, of Folkestone, Kent, made a “fictitious race” by driving to the Netherlands before implementing the real plan the following week.

But Wright was arrested after being found asleep in his truck just outside Utrecht. Youell and Rumbold were arrested at their home.

A total of 20.5 kilograms of heroin, 32 kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of MDMA, which together are believed to have had a UK market value of around £ 4.5million, were sealed in aquariums and found by the Dutch police following a joint investigation with the NCA. .

Cell phones seized by police found messages, which the NCA attributed to Rumbold, in which he spoke with other criminals about the potential to move drugs across Europe using Wright’s company.

A total of 20.5 kilograms of heroin, 32 kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of MDMA were found


At trial, Youell and Rumbold denied the drug importation charges, saying they were only seeking to smuggle alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco and cannabis.

Meanwhile, Wright, who was extradited from the Netherlands to the UK, denied any knowledge of the drug, saying he was only carrying furniture.

All three were convicted of conspiracy to import Class A drugs on November 19 following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

A judge on Friday sentenced Youell and Rumbold to 14 years in prison each, while Wright was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the NCA said.

NCA Regional Investigations Officer Peter Stevens said: “Today’s sentences show how seriously UK courts take drug trafficking offenses and I salute them.

“The Class A drugs seized in this investigation would all have ended up in the hands of British criminal gangs involved in violence and exploitation, and would have earned Youell, Rumbold and Wright a large salary.

“By their own admission, they thought they had ‘hit the jackpot’.

“But they weren’t counting on the tenacity and expertise of the NCA officers who, supported by our Dutch partners, monitored their every move – even at the height of the Covid shutdown in the UK.

“I hope others involved in this type of activity will take note – we are determined to do everything possible to disrupt and dismantle the organized criminal networks involved in the international drug supply.”

Report from the Press Association.

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