A cocaine smuggler who attempted to bring £2million of drugs into the UK was jailed at Manchester Crown Court today.
Richard Wright, 51, of Elmstead Avenue, Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import class A drugs through Zeebrugge, Belgium, and was jailed for nine years.
Wright fled the country for eight years and was arrested in Amsterdam in 2007 but was identified as part of a UK drug smuggling gang.
A HMRC spokesman said: "Under Operation Giftwrapped seven other gang members were jailed in 2006 following the seizure of 29kg of cocaine at Hull Docks.
"The drugs were hidden in a deep concealment underneath solidified bitumen, within one of two pods on the rear of a tarmac truck.
"The drugs were believed to be destined for organised crime gangs in Derbyshire and London."
While on the run Wright used several aliases and continued to trade in drugs and firearms.
He was caught in Holland with firearms and 39kg of cocaine concealed in a car door and was only identified from UK fingerprints and photographic records.
Wright was jailed for six and half years in 2008 and served his sentence in a Dutch jail but was arrested by HMRC officers and extradited back to the UK last year.
Mike O'Grady, HM Revenue and Customs assistant director, criminal investigation, said: "Wright fled the UK when circumstances got difficult and he saw we had arrested other gang members associated with the smuggling attempt.
"It became clear that he had continued his illegal activities in the Netherlands in the intervening period when he was arrested by our partners there for similar drug smuggling offences.
"Combining our intelligence and expertise for both smuggling cases has protected UK citizens and wider European communities from this habitual organised criminal."