Man uses ambulance front company for drugs

December 12, 2015, 9:15am

AP on News24
Photo: iStock

London - A Dutch man who set up a fake ambulance company to smuggle huge amounts of heroin and cocaine into Britain was sentenced on Friday to 24 years in prison.

Olof Schoon, 38, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to smuggle drugs with an estimated value of more than £1bn .

He and two accomplices were arrested in June at a parking lot in Smethwick, central England. Police found £10m worth of cocaine and heroin in secret compartments inside their ambulance.

Detectives say Schoon's International Ambulance Team - a company complete with offices, fake invoices and a fleet of vehicles - had made 44 similar trips from the Netherlands to England in the previous 14 months.

Passing sentence on Friday at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Francis Laird said this was "a highly sophisticated, meticulously planned and well-executed conspiracy involving the importation of Class A drugs on a truly colossal scale".

The accomplices were jailed for 18 and 25 years. The judge said Schoon "set up this conspiracy and you controlled it" and would have received a longer sentence if he had not pleaded guilty.