HANDYMAN RAN DRUGS EMPIRE FROM FAKE AMBULANCE

A Dutch man has been found guilty over a £1.6bn drugs smuggling operation where he posed as a handyman on a fake ambulance.

Father-of-four Leonardus Bijlsma, 55, will be sentenced at a later date.

Co-defendant Dennis Vogelaar, 28, was found not guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court.

Olof Schoon, 38, and 51-year-old Richard Engelsbel had already pleaded guilty.

The drugsImage copyrightNAtional Crime Agency
Image captionPolice found packages of cocaine, heroin and amphetamine as well as thousands of suspected ecstasy pills

Prosecutors told the court Bijlsma was the “right-hand man” in the operation to bring in high quantities of drugs into the UK.

All four men were arrested after a raid by officers from the National Crime Agency in Smethwick in June.

When officers examined the ambulance they found concealed compartments behind metal rivet panels containing colour-coded parcels.

Inside was 193kg of cocaine worth £30m, 74kg heroin worth £8m in individual deals, and ecstasy tablets and crystal worth £60,000.

Bijlsma had previously told the court he was paid 250 euros (£176) per journey by Schoon to be his “co-driver” and handyman on 16 trips across the Channel.

 

As reported in http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk

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