a "cynical and despicable trade".
Two council staff members who were part of a plot to smuggle cocaine and amphetamine from Mexico into Heathrow Airport have been jailed for a total of 24 years.
Sundeep Singh Rai and his accomplice Billy Hayre – who both worked for Sandwell Council – were members of a gang that smuggled 30kg of cocaine and 30kg of amphetamine into the UK.
National Crime Agency investigators knew the drugs were due to be smuggled into the country by an organised crime group.
They provided intelligence to Border Force officers, who discovered the drugs after a flight landed at Heathrow Airport on May 26, 2022.
The Class A drugs were seized before NCA investigators allowed the empty consignment to continue with its journey so they could monitor it.
It was collected from a cargo holding area bay and placed into a white van on June 8.
Officers tracked the van to Greet Green Industrial Estate in West Bromwich.
Rai and Hayre then unloaded the van and took the drugs to an industrial unit.
The council housing officers took delivery of what they believed was another drugs haul the next day.
They were busted when they were spotted unloading the shipment, which actually contained bananas. Rai and Hayre were then arrested.
An investigation found more than nine kilos of cocaine hidden inside a cardboard box was found in Rai’s car.
About two kilos of methylmethcathinone – also known by the street name of Meow Meow – was also discovered in his garage.
Officers found 250g of heroin, 700 ecstasy tablets, a cash counting machine and a dealing list when they searched a property in Balfour Crescent, Wolverhampton, which was rented by Rai.
Rai and Hayre initially denied conspiracy to supply class A drugs but changed their pleas to guilty.
Judge Jonathan Gosling slammed the pair for their involvement in a “cynical and despicable trade”.
He said they played “leading roles” in the conspiracy and handled “uncut, almost pure cocaine” within days of its arrival in the UK.
Other criminals were involved but they are yet to be identified.
Rai and Hayre were each jailed for 12 years.
NCA operations manager Chris Duplock said:
“Rai and Hayre were behind a sophisticated attempt to smuggle Class A drugs from Mexico onto the streets of the UK.”
“I have no doubt that had we not stopped them, they would have used this route repeatedly to bring in more drugs.
“Working with partners at home and abroad, we will do all we can to disrupt the supply of Class A drugs which are inextricably linked to gang violence and real suffering across UK communities.”