Express & Star

Drug baron's mother was deputy police commissioner

A West Midland crime baron who headed an operation to import £135 million worth of drugs is the son of Staffordshire's former deputy police and crime commissioner, it has emerged.

Last updated
Jonathan Arnold pretended to head up a furniture removals firm to smuggle huge amounts of drugs

Jonathan Arnold, 29, is the son of Sue Arnold, who served as deputy to Staffordshire's former police and crime commissioner from 2012 to 2021, the Daily Mail reported on Monday.

Walsall-born Mrs Arnold, who now lives in Tamworth, also stood as the Conservative candidate for Walsall South at the 2015 General Election.

There is no suggestion she had any knowledge of her son's criminal ways.

Jonathan Arnold's drugs empire helped fund a life of luxury which included trips to Dubai, a Ferrari and a Rolex watch.

Arnold, of Cremorne Road, Sutton Coldfield, is awaiting sentence after admitting four charges of conspiracy to import and supply drugs when he appeared before Birmingham Crown Court on May 19.

Arnold posed as the boss of Real Estates Removals, a supposedly legitimate removal business.

His gang used dummy loads of furniture to hide packages of drugs in lorries and vans, some of which had hidden compartments to conceal shipments.

West Midlands Police said the gang smuggled at least £135 million worth of drugs from Colombia into the UK, including heroin, cocaine and ketamine.

But his downfall came when French Customs came across one of his drug runs to Europe in January last year. Some 63 blocks of cocaine weighing 156lbs, and 99 bags of ketamine weighing 223lbs, valued at more than £2.5m, were found in the Real Estate Removals van.

Drugs were also stashed inside furniture and secret compartments in vans and lorries, detectives revealed. Then in April last year, Dutch police found 3,256lbs of cocaine hidden amongst bananas that had come from Colombia and was heading for Portsmouth. The haul seized had a street value of around £118m.

Det Ch Supt Jenny Skyrme, head of the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: "As the head of the crime group, Jonathan Arnold enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, driving luxury cars and enjoying trips to Dubai. The reality was that he was arranging tens of millions of pounds worth of drugs to be imported into the UK from Europe and South America, which would have gone on to cause untold misery and significant harm to communities."