Two men jailed over record £20m drugs haul found in frozen food van

Two men caught transporting more than GBP20 million of cocaine in a frozen food van have been jailed after one of Britain’s biggest ever drugs busts. Baldev Singh Sahota, 54, was driving the food truck on the outskirts of Birmingham when police swooped on December 11 last year, finding 168kg of class A drugs hidden among pallets of food. Fellow drug supplier Shakti Gupta, 34, was caught when officers then raided a property on a nearby trading estate, recovering a further 4kg of cocaine and MDMA as well as a kilo of drug cutting agent.

Scotland Yard said the seizure was one of the biggest in British history and they suspect the majority of the drugs were intended for sale on the streets of London.

Shakti Gupta was given 18 years

Gupta was jailed for 18 years and Sahota 16 years after both admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “This operation has resulted in one of the largest land seizures of cocaine within the UK, ever. “It is an extremely significant amount of Class A drugs that indicates the scale of this organised drug supply, which the Met has successfully dismantled.

“This sentencing result is due to the hard work and commitment from those involved in dismantling drugs networks that are intrinsically linked to the violence that we have seen playing out on our streets throughout the country. “This result should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in the supply of drugs in London and the rest of the UK that we will do everything we legitimately can to bring you to justice. “The Met will continue to work with, and assist, our colleagues in other forces around the country, who are all dedicated to removing the drugs from our streets and reducing the serious violence associated with drugs supply, to protect the public.”

Body-worn camera footage captured the moment Met officers, working with colleagues in the West Midlands, searched Sahota’s van after a stop on the A45. Hidden among the shipments of frozen meat were 168 dark-coloured bricks of cocaine, each weighing a kilogram and neatly packaged into food boxes. Police later raided a property on a trading estate in the Hockley district of Birmingham where Gupta was based.

Sahota, from Oldbury, West Midlands and Gupta, of Quinton, Birmingham, both admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine when they appeared at Birmingham crown court in January.

They have been in custody since and were sentenced on May 13.

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