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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Gang ringleaders: Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)

Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)

 

A GANG of drug dealers planned to flood Britain with £4 billion of cocaine - arranging the plot from a phone box.

The Liverpool and London-based gangsters were planning to smuggle 40 tonnes of cocaine from South America by sea, hidden inside tins of fish and wooden pallets.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the drug would be bought at a "wholesale price" and then sold to other dealers who would dilute it and sell it on.

If all the cocaine had made it to the streets of the UK and it was cut before being sold, the court heard it could have been worth around £4 billion.

The head of the Liverpool operation used a phone box in Old Hall Street, in Liverpool city centre, to arrange the deal with his London counterpart.

But the gang were being watched by undercover officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

Phone box on Old Hall Street Liverpool used by a drug dealer in one of the biggest ever cocaine rings

The phone box on Old Hall Street used by one of the drug dealers

The group was led by Mehmet Sirin Baybasin, 48, of Fairfield Crescent, Edgware, north-west London, who was jailed for 30 years at a hearing last week after he was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine.

The court heard that Baybasin was one of a total of 24 defendants brought to justice as part of the Soca investigation and that he was "at the top of the pyramid".

Judge David Aubrey QC said the offences had "at their core the evil and pernicious trade of drug dealing" and were indicative of the gang's "desire for the good life".

He said he was satisfied that the amounts they were talking about were not "pie in the sky" and that the wholesale value of 1,102lb (500kg) of uncut cocaine alone was worth a potential £17 million




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