An organised crime group’s logistics man has been jailed for 13 years for his role in a plot to import 400 kilos of cocaine hidden inside a consignment of Argentinian beef.
David McDermott, of Ormskirk, Lancashire, is the last of seven members of the group to be jailed over the failed bid in May 2013.
McDermott, aged 43, went on the run and featured in the Operation Captura fugitive campaign.He was traced to Ghana in March and arrested in a joint operation by the National Crime Agency and Ghanaian Bureau of National Investigations before being extradited to the UK in May.
He pleaded guilty on the basis that he conspired to import 50 kilos of the 400 kilo load at Liverpool Crown Court. The cocaine had a value to organised crime of £15m but if cut and sold it would have had a potential street value of approximately £71m. It was seized at Tilbury Docks, Essex, when health officials opened the frozen container to inspect the meat.
Sixteen black holdalls were discovered each containing 25 kilos of cocaine. Investigators replaced the cocaine with dummy packages of bricks to allow the container to continue its journey to its end destination, a cold storage unit in Wigan.
Prison sentences totalling 77 years have been handed down to the seven cocaine plotters.
National Crime Agency senior investigating officer Joanne Ralfs said: “McDermott was the logistics man for a crime group whose members were willing to use extreme violence. He was an integral part, looking after transportation and making sure the job went ahead.
“We are here to take these people out and this is a great result.This particular crime group had a significant impact across the north west and if this conspiracy came off it, the drugs had the potential to devastate communities.”