Three men have been convicted of plotting to use a removal company to smuggle drugs worth £4.5m, which were hidden in fish tanks.
In a secret recording by the National Crime Agency (NCA), the trio were caught talking about plans to import 32kg of cocaine, 20.5kg of heroin and 3kg of MDMA.
Mark Youell, 64, was heard telling his partners “we’re gonna hit the jackpot”, adding that they were going to make “f****** mega dough”.
The NCA said Youell, along with Alfred Rumbold, 65, and Brian Wright, 73, had a series of secret meetings with a Merseyside-based organised crime group who wanted to import class A drugs using Wright’s legitimate removal company.
The day before, Wright had come back from a “dummy run” in the Netherlands with his lorry, the NCA said.
He made a series of notes about border checks and security on his phone.
The following week Wright went back to the country to collect the drugs, which had been sealed inside fish tanks.
His vehicle was raided in a joint operation between the NCA and Dutch police, who also found Wright sleeping inside and arrested him.
Youell and Rumbold were detained at their homes in the UK.
Their phones were taken by police and included a number of Encrochat and Sky ECC encrypted devices.
All three of the men were found guilty of conspiring to import class A drugs following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
Their sentencing will take place on 28 November.
The NCA said their investigation proved the group stood to make huge profits.
“This conspiracy involved a significant amount of drugs which were destined for the streets of the UK, where they would have been distributed by criminal gangs involved in violence and exploitation,” said NCA regional head of investigations Peter Stevens.
Youell is from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, while Rumbold is from Orpington, Kent.
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