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12 tons of drugs were brought into Shipley, cour told
The Mr Fixit in a £100 million drugs ring that saw 12 tonnes of heroin and cannabis smuggled into Bradford in truckloads from Holland has been sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.
An International Arrest Warrant has been issued for Dutchman Jackie Heinen who was yesterday convicted of organising and co-ordinating the “massive consignments” in 15 lorries bound for Windhill , Shipley .
Heinen, 53, was found guilty by a jury at Bradford Crown Court of two charges of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.
He was tried in his absence after telling his legal team he was too poor to come to court.
Judge Peter Benson passed sentence immediately, fearing Heinen would “go to ground”.
“These were very, very large quantities of drugs with a high street value,” he said.
“This was an organisation, a conspiracy, of which the defendant was, if not at the very heart of, then very much a serious player.”
Judge Benson told the jurors steps were being taken to arrest Heinen in The Netherlands.
Heinen was extradited to Britain in July last year and spent six months behind bars but delays in his case meant he was bailed to return to his homeland.
He pledged to return for his trial but sent an e-mail to his legal team three days before the case was due to begin, on Monday, August 13, saying he could not afford the cost of his fare to the UK.
He said he had “tried everything” to raise the money but his “financial status” was “not good at all”.
“My apologies to the jurors, this is not my choice,” he stated.
In June last year, failed businessman Andrew Varey and his former girlfriend Maxine Robinson were each jailed for 16 years at Bradford Crown Court for their roles in the conspiracy, between March and August 2008.
Varey, 45, former boss of Varey Shop Fitters, and Robinson, 40, the company secretary, were convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court.
They and Heinen were arrested after French Customs seized a £10m drugs consignment bound for Varey Shop Fitters, on Jubilee Way, Windhill, Shipley, in a random check on August 14, 2008.
In heat-sealed packages on pallets was one-and-a-half tonnes of heroin and cannabis.
It was the 14th similar delivery addressed to the business within six months.
Varey and Robinson, who lived at Fairbank Place, Shipley, unsuccessfully went to the Court of Appeal in London to try to cut their jail terms.
Heinen’s company, J P Logistics, was responsible for shipping the drugs into the UK.
In November, 2007, customs officers in Dover intercepted a van from the Continent containing ampetamine and cannabis resin with a £2.5 million street value.
It was bound for Kent and J P Logistics that then sought alternative routes into the UK.
After the case, Detective Inspector Noel Devine, of West Yorkshire Police's Crime Division, who led the investigation, said: “The conviction and sentencing of Heinen marks the final chapter of a long-running and complex investigation into an international conspiracy to smuggle huge amounts of drugs into the UK.
“We are pleased Heinen has now been convicted for his role as the main player in this conspiracy in which a local business in Shipley was being used to help get these drugs into the UK which could have been worth as much as £100 million.
“This investigation would not have been possible without close co-operation between detectives here in West Yorkshire with their colleagues in France, Germany and Holland.
“It once again demonstrates that police investigations are not hindered by international boundaries and borders and that criminal gangs will be pursued from country to country to bring them to justice.
“We will be working closely with colleages on the continent to facilitate his arrest.”
Police said Heinen will serve his sentence in Holland.