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    British Drug Baron Whose Network ‘Spanned Globe' Jailed For 22 Years in France

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    Rob Dawes - nicknamed "Drug Lord" or "The General" - was arrested in November 2015 - at a luxury resort in Benalmadena on Spain's Costa del Sol after police intercepted a conversation in which he said a huge consignment of cocaine, with a street value of 240 million euros (US$275 million) belonged to him.

    Dawes, 46, was convicted on Friday, December 21, in Paris where he was on trial along with two other Britons — Nathan Wheat and Kane Price — and three Italians, who are said to be linked to a Camorra clan, the Amato-Paganos, from Naples.

    He had arranged for the importation of a tonne of cocaine, packed into 30 suitcases, which was discovered in 2013 on an Air France plane which flew from Venezuela to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

    Dawes — who moved to Spain in 2001 — was arrested after Britain's National Crime Agency received intelligence that the so-called Dawes Cartel, which originated in Nottingamshire, had travelled to Venezuela to organise a huge shipment.

    The NCA worked closely with the French police and the Guardia Civil in Spain.

    Rob Dawes, pictured, has been jailed for 22 years for his part in an international drug smuggling operation
    © Photo : National Crime Agency
    Rob Dawes, pictured, has been jailed for 22 years for his part in an international drug smuggling operation

    Bugs were planted in Dawes' home in Spain and he was heard bragging about his involvement in the Paris drugs importation and his ability to move large amounts of Colombian cocaine to a Madrid hotel.

    In November 2015 armed police raided Dawes' mansion in Benalmadena and he was arrested.

    Guns and Cash Found at his Spanish Mansion

    Guns, cash and encrypted mobile phones were seized and he was extradited to France to face trial.

    The National Crime Agency said Dawes ran a huge multi-national criminal enterprise, with connections in Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia.

    "Dawes was one of the most significant organised criminals in Europe with a network that literally spanned the globe. He had connections in South America, the Middle East, Asia and across Europe, which enabled him to orchestrate the movements of huge amounts of class A drugs and money," said the National Crime Agency's deputy director Matt Horne.

    "Dawes was prepared to use extreme levels of violence in order to further his reputation and take retribution against those who crossed him. Members or associates of his criminal group are known to have been involved in intimidation, shootings and murders," said Mr. Horne.

    Dawes — whose brother John and father Arthur were jailed for drug smuggling in the UK in 2005 after detectives launched Operation Normality — was extradited from Spain to France and went on trial on Monday, December 10.

    Dawes Claimed Drugs Talk Was Just a 'Script'

    During the trial, Dawes claimed he knew he was being recorded and said he deliberately read out a "script" in the hope of being arrested, which he hoped would end the "heavy-handed surveillance" by Spanish police.

    "That was all a script. I spoke about airports, shipping ports, like I was involved in something," Dawes told the court, when asked about the incriminating statements he was recorded as making.

    In his book about Nottingham gangsters, Hoods, author Carl Fellstrom said the "Dawes Cartel….was a ruthless, calculating gang" which was on a par with the city's notorious "Bestwood Cartel", whose main leaders — Colin and David Gunn — were jailed in 2007 after an innocent couple were murdered in cold-blooded revenge.

    Fellstrom said in October 2002 David Draycott was shot dead in Nottinghamshire over a debt he owed to the Gunns and the Dawes Cartel.

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    Tags:
    arrested, cocaine, drugs, National Crime Agency (NCA), Civil Guardia, Nottingham, Paris, Spain
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