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  1. ITV Report

Ringleader of £68m drug smuggling operation jailed

The ring leader of an international drug smuggling operation worth £68 million has been jailed.

42-year-old James Mulvey from Solihull was caught by authorities in March 2017 after a lengthy international investigation by the National Crime Agency.

He was convicted on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis between May 2006 and February 2007.

He was sentenced to 32 years for importing cocaine and 10 years for importing cannabis. They be served at the same time.

He will have to serve 16 years being before being released on licence, and then serve the remainder in the community.

Mulvey was arrested after being found at a property in Lithuania Credit: NCA

Large quantities of both drugs were discovered inside industrial metal rollers in February 2007 in Belgium, which were heading to Worcestershire then Dublin. The discovery sparked an international investigation.

Mulvey fled the UK when a number of his associates were arrested in August 2007.

He became difficult to track and evaded authorities for a decade.

Credit: NCA

He went out of his way to changing his mobile phone on a regular basis, not having bank accounts or anything registered in his own name. All this would be done through third parties. He dealt a lot in cash for his own personal finances so everything about this was difficult for us.

– Andrew Quinn, National Crime Agency

In August 2014 he was heard in a police recording admitting his involvement in the drug conspiracy.

Remember I used to do bits and bobs, for what Barry got nicked off in Inkberrow. Remember.

– Recording on James Mulvey in August 2014

Mulvey was finally caught March 2017 when he was arrested in Lithuania, where he was living with his then girlfriend. He was extradited to the UK to face trial at Birmingham Crown Court.