Moment UK police capture ‘untouchable’ £100m drug lord in his lair
BOUND and hooded, a drugs lord lies on the floor as his £100million empire is finally brought to a halt by police. James Mulvey, 42, headed a panEuropean cannabis and cocaine smuggling network and considered himself ‘untouchable’.
Spending almost seven years in luxury hotels around the world, he paid in cash to live like ‘a ghost’ in an attempt to foil investigators.
but his reign came to an end when officers tracked him down to his bolthole in Lithuania, where he was arrested wearing just his shorts.
Pictures of the moment the drugs kingpin was captured emerged as he was jailed for 32 years yesterday.
birmingham Crown Court heard how cocaine shipped by Mulvey’s gang had a street value of £42million, with another £60million for the cannabis. using his own legitimate haulage company as cover, he brought drugs from belgium through Holland and the UK to Ireland, storing them overnight at a depot in a village which inspired Ambridge in The Archers.
The father- of-five, from Solihull in the West Midlands, was one of four bosses at the top of a conspiracy which allowed him to send his children to a £39,000-a-year public school. He laundered more than £11million through offshore accounts in Mauritius, Monaco and the Isle of Man.
Much of his ill-gotten gains went on property deals in the uK and Europe, including a £ 1.13million Spanish villa complete with infinity pool and cinema room.
Cash was splashed on jewellery and luxury watches, and Mulvey also had interests in at least three birmingham nightspots. Jurors were told he would go through £5,000 a week to support his luxury lifestyle and cocaine binges, but denied the cash had come from smuggling the drug he was so partial to.
His illicit cargo went through a haulage yard in the village of Inkberrow, Worcestershire – better known as the inspiration for Ambridge in The Archers – hidden in industrial sized metal rollers.
Five people were convicted in november 2009 for their part in the operation, including staff who worked for Mulvey’s transport firm. Having seen his associates jailed, Mulvey remained out of the uK until 2012, when he briefly returned to visit his ailing father. He was finally arrested in Lithuania in March last year, following an operation involving 150 national Crime Agency and overseas colleagues across nine countries.
Investigators say they still cannot account for £7.8million that went through offshore accounts. At the end of a tenweek trial, jurors convicted Mulvey of conspiring to smuggle drugs between 2006 and 2007. Two ex-girlfriends, who had both suffered domestic violence at his hands, gave evidence against him via video link. one source who knows him told the Mail: ‘He doesn’t have any roguish charm. He comes across exactly as he looks – as a common thug.’
Judge Mark Wall QC told Mulvey: ‘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.’
Got him: James Mulvey lies on the floor in just his shorts as police raid his Lithuania hideout
On the run: He spent 7 years in hotels abroad