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Two West Midlands men jailed over £60m drug smuggling plot

Birmingham | News | Published:

Two men involved in a smuggling plot that saw £60 million worth of drugs brought into the UK have been jailed.

The pair, from Cheslyn Hay and Walsall, were among five put behind bars following a major nationwide and international investigation into the importation of cannabis, amphetamines and MDMA.

Arrests took place across the West Midlands region as well as in The Netherlands.

The drugs were brought into the UK from the Netherlands using legitimate hauliers – all of whom were unaware of the loads they were carrying before the drugs were taken to haulage yards in the Midlands, including Walsall.

Richard Dale

The yards were also unaware of what was happening. The parcels were separated and subsequently collected by organised crime groups from around the UK.

Amphetamines later seized by police had been disguised as cartons of takeaway food.

Richard Dale, age 51, from Maybrook Industrial Estate, Walsall, and Peter Hillback, 42, from Charles Close, Cheslyn Hay, were both jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for their role in the operation which was co-ordinated from a small office on a farm in the Kempsey area of Worcestershire.

The operation, which was launched in July 2013 and led by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, saw a total of £13.5m worth of drugs seized, including more than 1000 kg of cannabis, 107 kg of MDMA and 64 kg of amphetamines.

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Peter Hillback

In terms of value, it is one of the biggest investigations Warwickshire Police and West Mercia have ever conducted into illegal drugs.

Dale was jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to import class A drugs, conspiracy to import class B drugs, conspiracy to supply MDMA, conspiracy to supply amphetamine and conspiracy to supply cannabis.

He had denied all counts but was found guilty in September at Birmingham Crown Court. Hillback admitted the same charges and was given 14 years and four months in prison.

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