It is commonplace for drug dealers to use a legal front company to help disguise their respective operations. Using a legit business to mask a drug operation makes everything seem like it’s on the up-and-up to the naked eye. A British trio took this concept a step further, using a phony aerial photography company to smuggle more than £30 million (about $43.1 million) worth of cocaine from Germany into Britain.
Andrew Wright, 52, set up a business called “Skyviews R Us” as a front for the international conspiracy. He adopted the nickname “Biggles,” which is the name of a fictional pilot adventurer that was the subject of a youth book series by W.E. Johns. Wright was partnered with Jamie Williams, 38, and kingpin Mark Dowling, 43. According to The Daily Mail, the cocaine was brought into England, by Wright, from a private airfield in Kassel, near Central Germany, with a Cessna aircraft. Williams would then drive the haul to Dowling in Essex. The Daily Mail reports:
‘Before the flights back from Germany, Mr Williams travelled to mainland Europe,’ said prosecutor Daniel Robinson.
‘He picked up the drugs, probably in the Netherlands, before taking them by car to Germany where they were then loaded onto the plane.
‘He then drove to England, to Selby, to pick them up before driving down to Essex to give the drugs to Dowling, who was in charge of the operation.’
Wright was arrested in November 2014 after landing. Police found four bricks in the boot of his blue Porsche Cayenne, and 20 more on the plane. According to ledgers found in Dowling’s home (yikes), the operation had brought in 268 kilos of coke, worth £33.5 million, between September 1, 2014, and November 18, 2014. Dowling made £3,300 per kilo. Wright was paid £1,500 per key and Williams made a £12,000 flat fee for each trip.
When Williams’ home was raided, a stash of drugs, guns, ammo and cash were found. In June, Dowling was arrested while delivering 19.5 kilograms of weed to a man named David Rowe. All three men and Rowe are due for sentencing tomorrow, where they are expected to receive lengthy bids.