Gang imported cocaine disguised as technical manuals

Boxes containing cocaine, seized by police in Cheltenham, smuggled in from Spain by the gang.
Boxes containing cocaine, seized by police in Cheltenham, smuggled in from Spain by the gang. Credit: Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)

Details of how Philip Baron's drug smuggling gang succeeded in importing more than 50 tonnes of cannabis and cocaine into the UK have emerged.

Vast quantities of cocaine, originating in South America, and travelling through Spain, were brought into the UK disguised as technical manuals, through regular services.

The boxes were professionally packed and disguised as brochures.
The boxes were professionally packed and disguised as brochures. Credit: Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)

The drugs were professionally wrapped and boxed and labelled with the logos of well-known international companies in Spain, and the contents detailed as procures of legitimate companies.

The boxes were sent from Spain into the UK.
The boxes were sent from Spain into the UK. Credit: Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)

The gang disguised themselves as ordinary businessmen and women and used serviced or "virtual" offices: often using the details of legitimate companies and individuals who had had their identities stolen to rent these offices.

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Drugs kingpin guilty plea

An international crime network responsible for importing more than 50 tonnes of cannabis and cocaine into the UK has been smashed. The last remaining kingpin, Philip Baron, pleaded guilty to conspiracies to import drugs and money laundering today.