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Pictured: Sandwell housing officers and the drugs they helped smuggle from South America

Two council workers were significant players in a plot to smuggle hard drugs inside a laser cutting machine.

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Sandwell housing officers Billy Hayre and Sundeep Singh Rai were signifcant players in smuggling ring

Sandwell Council housing officers Sundeep Singh Rai, 37, and accomplice Billy Hayre, 43, belonged to an organised crime group responsible for bringing 30kg of cocaine and 30kg of amphetamine on a cargo plane from Mexico.

But Rai, of Brockhouse Close, in Hill Top, West Bromwich, and an ex-West Midlands Police Community Support Officer, and Hayre, of Hathersage Road, in Old Oscott, Birmingham, were unaware they were being monitored.

Border Force officials seized the drugs when the flight landed at Heathrow Airport on May 26 last year and informed National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators who then launched a surveillance operation.

The NCA investigators allowed the empty laser machine consignment to continue its journey to see who was collecting it.

Cocaine smuggled from Mexico to Heathrow

They were watching more than a week later on June 8 when it was collected from a cargo holding area by a white Mercedes van and driven to Greets Green Industrial Estate, in Greets Green Road, West Bromwich.

Rai and Hayre turned up to meet the van and unloaded the shipment at an industrial unit. The next day day they took delivery of a second drugs shipment meeting a banana lorry there.

As the pair began unloading it the officers supported by West Midlands Police swooped and arrested them.

The amphetamine seized at Heathrow Airport

They found more than 9kg of cocaine hidden in a cardboard box in Rai’s car boot along with 2kg of methylmethcathinone – also known by the street name of Meow Meow in the garage of his home.

In addition, a search of a flat he rented in Balfour Crescent, in Wolverhampton, uncovered 250 grams of heroin, 700 ecstasy tablets, a cash counting machine and a drug dealing list.

Dugs were found hidden in this laser machine
Cocaine found in Sundeep Singh Rai's car

Sentencing them at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday, Judge Jonathan Gosling said some of the drugs were worth estimated street value sums of £250,000.

The defendants initially denied charges of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, but changed their pleas to guilty ahead of a jury trial in February.

Judge Gosling told the pair their version of events were ‘preposterous’ and said that he did not believe a word of their explanations that the reason they were both using a "dirty" mobile phone seized by the officers, was because both were conducting affairs behind their wives backs and used it to call other women.

Billy Hayre jailed for 12 years
Sundeep Singh Rai jailed for 12 years

He jailed both for 12 years. They must serve at least half the prison terms before being released on licence. A proceeds of crime hearing will be heard in July next year in an effort to claw back their ill-gotten gains.

After the sentencing NCA operations manager Chris Duplock said: “Rai and Hayre were behind a sophisticated attempt to smuggle class A drugs from Mexico on to the streets.

“I have no doubt that had we not stopped them, they would have used this route repeatedly to bring in more drugs.

“Working with partners at home and abroad, we will do all we can to disrupt the supply of class A drugs which are inextricably linked to gang violence and real suffering across communities.”