Philip Roe, the Leicestershire truck driver at the centre of a drug smuggling case involving the Kasawaki World Superbike team has been sentenced to 18 years in jail.
The case came to a head when the team's truck was found to contain drugs, a gun and ammunition while returning to the UK from the Assen round in 2011.
The lorry was searched at Dover in May 2011, with customs officers finding six kilos of cocaine, 68 kilos of cannabis resin, 35 kilos of herbal cannabis and 30 kilos of ecstasy tablets concealed in a number of bags and boxes hidden in a seating area.
A number of MDMA tablets, a .22 Walther handgun and 35 rounds of ammunition were also found in the truck, which wasn't being driven at the time by Roe, who was driving a second lorry. Three other team members were also arrested at the time,
Forensic examination of the drugs recovered Roe's fingerprints, and emails and messages recovered from his laptop included incriminating evidence, including references to a "payday" when he got back to the UK.
He was charged with six counts of attempting to import class A drugs, class B drugs, firearms and ammunition, but the other three team members also arrested were released without charge.
Following a two week trial at Canterbury Crown Court Roe was found guilty on all charges. On Thursday 12 December the judge sentenced him to 18 years in prison.
Malcolm Bragg, from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, said: “This was a brazen attempt to smuggle a large quantity of illegal drugs plus a gun and ammunition into the UK. These drugs would have been worth around £2.5 million had they made it on to the streets.
“Right from the start of our investigation Roe denied any knowledge of this importation and was happy to blame his colleagues and team.
“However, thanks to the close co-operation between NCA investigators and Border Force he has been brought to justice and is behind bars where he belongs.”
Paul Morgan, Director Border Force South East & Europe, added: “Drug trafficking is a serious offence and those convicted face long prison sentences. Our message to those who would consider it is that it’s just not worth it.
“Border Force officers, alongside our NCA colleagues, continue to work diligently to keep our border secure and to make life as tough as possible for those who seek to profit from this evil trade.”