Fake ambulance drug smuggler 'mastermind' jailed for 24 years
Dutch man who used fake ambulances to smuggle 'colossal' amounts of drugs into UK has been jailed.
The mastermind behind a drug smuggling ring that used fake ambulances to smuggle cocaine and heroin worth 1.6bn into the UK has been jailed for 24 years.
Olof Schoon pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to smuggle Class A drugs into Yorkshire, Merseyside, London and the West Midlands using a "fleet" of specially-adapted ambulances.
His right hand man Leonardus Biklsma, who used a rivet gun to conceal the drugs inside ambulances, was jailed for 28 years after being convicted by a jury of the 14-month conspiracy.
Meanwhile, Richard Engelsbel was given an 18-year jail term after admitting that he acted as a driver or driver's mate on 25 smuggling trips purporting to be journeys to pick up injured patients.
Schoon set up an apparently legitimate firm - International Ambulance Team - based at an office equipped with a staff canteen.
The company owned a fleet of emergency vehicles costing 220,000 euro.
The trio's audacious plot involved using bogus paramedic uniforms and fake patients on crutches to sneak high-quality cocaine and heroin to locations across the UK.
Fake invoices, riddled with spelling mistakes, and paperwork for false patient transfers to The Royal London Hospital were also used.