Two men from Essex have been jailed for their role in a major international drug smuggling operation.
Anthony Dennis, 48, from Ongar, and Anthony Wilson, 38, from Harlow, plotted with criminals in the UK and overseas to import up to three tonnes of cocaine worth hundreds of millions of Euros into Europe.
Dennis was sentenced at the Old Bailey yesterday to 13 years 4 months in prison for conspiracy to commit a foreign drug trafficking offence. Wilson was sentenced to 12 years. Both men had pleaded guilty.
The pair were regulars at the Café de Ketel in Rotterdam, which used an outwardly legitimate façade to hide a global operations centre for international drug traffickers.
They were identified following an investigation by the National Crime Agency and the Dutch National Police.
Dutch police covertly recorded meetings in the café that proved Dennis and Wilson were sourcing cocaine from South America and arranging to transport it in shipping containers carrying legitimate cargo.
Wilson was arrested in October 2013 with several other men, as part of a coordinated strikes that took place in the UK and the Netherlands.
Officers found two handguns at the cafe in Rotterdam, along with over 100 mobile phones, €300,000, a cash counting machine, a radio scanner, a radio jammer and high-value watches.
They also seized nine handguns, two semi-automatic rifles, a cocaine press and €200,000 at other addresses in Rotterdam.
Dennis, who was in Spain at the time, went on the run. He was arrested in August this year when he flew back to the UK.