Paying the price, drug ‘ghost’ who raked in fortune

A BRITISH drugs kingpin, who built a 1.4m-euro Costa del Sol mansion out of his ill-gotten gains, has been jailed for 32 years.

James Mulvey “lived like a ghost” for seven years after fleeing Britain over his role in a 77m-euro smuggling ring.

The 42-year-old, from Solihull in the West Midlands, used fake names and stayed on the move, checking into hotels and paying in cash, sometimes via third parties.

He also used mobile phones, dubbed “burners”, which he dumped rapidly to avoid being traced.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how the haulage boss lived a lavish lifestyle, raking in up to 85,000 euros weekly, and having a Marbella villa, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, plus a cinema.

The father-of-five drove luxury cars, including Land Rovers and Mercedes, and he wore Rolex watches while living in five-star hotels. He also lived in Brazil, Portugal and the Netherlands.

At one point, he was overheard bragging to a girlfriend: “Listen, no one can control me, baby; even me dad and mum will tell ya I’m ****ing nuts.”

But the “untouchable” crime lord became imminently touchable after he was tracked down, eventually, following a covert surveillance operation, which saw armed police raid his Lithuania hideout last year.

He was cuffed while in his underpants only, at gunpoint, and extradited to the UK, where he has now been convicted of four conspiracy charges, after acting as the “linchpin” of the international plot.

Prosecutors added that Mulvey developed a 1,100-euro per week cocaine habit. He also set up bogus haulage companies to import “industrial scale” quantities of drugs, from Europe to Britain and Ireland, in 2006 and 2007.

He fled to Spain 11 years ago, after 22kg of cocaine and 392kg of cannabis, hidden in metal rollers and worth an estimated 45 million, was intercepted in Belgium.

But his children continued to attend private schools in Worcestershire and Somerset.

Judge Mark Wall QC said a probe had revealed 14 previous trips connected to his cabal, during which it is believed that up to 5.5 tonnes of cannabis and 300kg of cocaine entered the UK.

He later transported the narcotics in mini-Harley Davidson motorcycles and inflatable sea scooters.

The Judge told Mulvey: “I treat it as a representative load for the purposes of estimating the total quantity of drugs traded, as a result of this conspiracy.

“On the evidence presented to me at trial, I conclude that the wholesale value of these drugs would have been in the region of at least £17m wholesale, £42m retail for the cocaine, and £60m retail for the cannabis.”

The accused smiled at family members when the verdict was read out, and the Judge continued: “You were involved in the large-scale importation of these drugs into this country from continental Europe, and its onward transportation to Ireland, where, doubtless, it was to be sold at a great profit.

“You gave evidence that you yourself have taken cocaine for many years. You would have been acutely aware of the misery and ruined lives that this drug brings in its wake.”

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said in a statement, released in the wake of Mulvey’s arrest, that he was traced, despite changing his mobile phone on a daily basis and using unregistered SIM cards.

Investigators also obtained recordings of him speaking about the murder of his Irish cousin, Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh, who was shot dead on the Costa del Sol in 2014.

In one he was heard to say: “When we first started, there was four bosses, me, Glasses, him who’s just got shot dead, and another kid.”

He also spoke of how he feared assassination, saying: “The life I lead, you never know what can happen. I do what I do; people try to kill me.”

After the 10-week trial, NCA regional head Andy Quinn said: “Mr Mulvey would classify himself as an iconic, untouchable criminal. The NCA and its partners have today proven that isn’t the case.

“He obviously fled overseas, following the conviction of his criminal associates, and, again, probably thought that, out-of-sight, out-of-mind for five years, the NCA would give up.

“But we never give up on individuals like Mr Mulvey. We have a long memory.”

Five accomplices were jailed for a total of 86 years in 2009 for their parts in the plot, including lorry-driver Geoffrey Edwards and transport manager Barry Phipps, Mulvey’s right-hand man.


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Posted by on Jun 21 2018. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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