A 37-YEAR-OLD Huddersfield man has been convicted for his role in one of Britain's biggest ever crack cocaine drug-smuggling rings.
Michael Small, of Spaines Road, Fartown (pictured, right) , was among six people found guilty of conspiracy to import and supply Class A drugs.
A further four - including Bradford man Phillip Hearsum - had admitted conspiring to import Class A drugs.
The trial finished at Kingston Crown Court in London yesterday and the gang was remanded in custody to be sentenced on April 27.
Long jail sentences seem inevitable.
Small and the others were part of an international drugs ring which smuggled in well over £100m of cocaine between 1999 and 2004.
And if, as the prosecution alleged, the cocaine was converted into the highly addictive crack cocaine, the total value would have been nearer £170m.
When police eventually swooped, they found the largest ever single haul of cocaine in the UK.
They discovered a holdall containing 10.9kg of crack cocaine which has a street value over £1m.
The street value of cocaine is £63,000 per kilo - but that raises to £100,000 per kilo once it is converted into crack.
The Surbiton branch of the National Crime Squad began its investigation in 2002 and built up a picture of a highly-organised international gang operating primarily from London, but also using people from around the country - and Michael Small had a vital role recruiting drugs couriers in the north.
At the heart of the drugs ring was Lincoln White, 39, from Dulwich, south London, who was a childhood friend of Small's when they both lived in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Small and 30-year-old Brixton man Errol Williams became White's trusted lieutenants.
A spokeswoman for the National Crime Squad said: "White is now thought to be the biggest ever crack cocaine importer, manufacturer and distributor ever arrested in the UK.
"He controlled every stage of the process and is undoubtedly one of the top Jamaican drug criminals in the UK."
Since it was formed in 1998, the National Crime Squad has seized drugs worth almost £695m, disrupted more than 1,000 criminal networks and identified for confiscation through the courts over £104m of convicted criminals' illegally-gained assets.
It focuses predominantly on drugs trafficking, but the squad now also investigates human trafficking and hi-technology criminality.
It works closely with police forces and many other agencies both in the UK and abroad.