Two Walsall members of an organised crime group who smuggled high-purity heroin into the UK from Pakistan have each been jailed for 18 years.
Asghar Khan, 48, and Rashad Mahmood, 52, were sentenced on Friday at Birmingham Crown Court after hiding the Class A drugs in industrial meat mincing machines and clothing.
The pair - who are both from Walsall but were born in Pakistan - imported heroin using a legitimate cargo company which sent the parcels by air freight.
Border Force officers discovered 20 kilos of heroin hidden in three separate consignments which forensic examinations revealed was 62 per cent pure.
This is more than double the usual street purity of the drug found in the UK - and had a potential street value of more than £2.5 million.
NCA officers uncovered the sophisticated scheme between September 2014 and April 2015, during which at least four batches were sent to the UK.
Two of the drugs packages were intercepted at Birmingham Airport.
On opening the parcels in the cargo area, the border officers found heroin in a number of hidden sewn-in compartments along with items of women`s clothing.
The last batch came by freight into Manchester Airport.
Border Force officers examined it and found indications of heroin inside the packages, which contained large industrial meat mincing machines.
The heroin was then found inside a series of welded metal blocks within the motors of the machines.
After linking the drugs from both airports, NCA officers began an investigation.
Khan was first arrested in 2014 after attempting to collect the second drugs parcel and was arrested again, along with Mahmood, in April 2016 on suspicion of conspiracy to import controlled drugs.
Dawn Cartwright, NCA Operations manager, said: “Mahmood and Khan were convicted after overwhelming evidence against them and both played a leading role in the importation of at least four consignments.
“We have punched a major hole in this OCG in what Her Honour Judge Henderson described as 'an exemplary investigation'.
“Drugs fuel further crime, exploitation and violence. Working with our partners we will make sure drug dealers are stopped and punished.”