A man believed to have smuggled hundreds of millions of pounds worth of drugs into the UK has been jailed for 30 years.
Adegboyega Adeniji, 48, of Sandmere Close in Hemel Hempstead was stopped by border officers at Heathrow after he arrived on a flight from Amsterdam on 4th April 2011.
Searches of his two suitcases revealed they contained a huge quantity of drugs – 31 kg of cocaine, 5 kg of heroin and 2 kg of methamphetamine. In total the haul had a street value of over £4million.
When UK Border Agency investigators searched a flat he rented in Regent's Plaza, Kilburn, they unearthed other 23 suitcases, many of which tested positive for traces of drugs.
They also found evidence that he had done the same journey to Amsterdam on many previous occasions, travelling under the guise of a businessman who supplied heavy machinery to the oil business in Nigeria.
Jim Jarvie, deputy director, criminal and financial investigation team, UK Border Agency said: “Adeniji was clearly a significant figure at the centre of an extensive criminal network. He was involved in the importation and distribution of class A drugs on a grand scale.
“Although the true amount of drugs he smuggled into the UK will never be known, it is probably safe to assume he has been responsible for the importation of tens – if not hundreds – of millions of pounds worth.”
The flat in Kilburn was the hub of Adeniji's criminal business, the place where he stored the drugs that he, and probably others who worked with him, had smuggled into the UK.
As well as the abandoned suitcases, UK Border Agency investigators also found scales, a money counting machine, further packages of drugs and around £2,000 cash.
Analysis of his mobile phone showed he had regular contacts with associates in Amsterdam. Some of the texts he sent read like shopping lists of illegal drugs and prices.
Adeniji would then use a room in a nearby hotel in Maida Vale or rented apartment to do his drugs deals. Text messages were found inviting others to the hotel, and these matched his pattern of travel to Amsterdam. Many of the names in the texts matched names found on the packages of drugs he was found with at Heathrow.
Checks on his bank records showed unidentified cash deposits of almost £1m had gone into his account.
Since Adeniji's arrests assets of between £500,000 and £1,000,000 have been frozen by UK Border Agency investigators. They will now be the subject of Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation proceedings.
Adeniji admitted importation charges, but denied conspiring to import class A drugs. A jury at Isleworth Crown Court unanimously found him guilty. On 2nd March 2012, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.