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Cannnabis haul in tulips from Amsterdam

PUBLISHED: 15:38 21 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

A BUSINESSMAN dubbed the 'King of Flowers' smuggled £6.67 million of cannabis through Ipswich and Felixstowe in tulips from Amsterdam, a court heard.

Dutchman Jan Stins, 41, tricked his English customers into buying bulbs, using their details as a front for shipping the drugs.

A BUSINESSMAN dubbed the 'King of Flowers' smuggled £6.67 million of cannabis through Ipswich and Felixstowe in tulips from Amsterdam, a court heard.

Dutchman Jan Stins, 41, tricked his English customers into buying bulbs, using their details as a front for shipping the drugs.

His cover was blown after customs in Ipswich found one tonne of cannabis resin hidden in a shipment of tulip bulbs from Amsterdam in December 1997.

But Stins is still wanted by Interpol.

Two of his compatriots were acquitted of involvement in the smuggling ring at Inner London Crown Court yesterday.

Jeffrey van Leeuwen, 32, and Jan Kowalewski, 30, pleaded not guilty and were cleared of being knowingly concerned in the importation of a class B drug.

During the trial Judge Charles Gibson remarked: "It is clear Mr Stins was that King of something not so innocent as flowers."

Adrian Dunkley, of Cherry Tree Nurseries, in Wyboston, Bedfordshire, was one of many customers duped.

Goods were dropped off in Mr Dunkley's name to Green and Skinner's yard in Beaconsfield Road, Ipswich, without his knowledge.

Another unsuspecting horticulturist, Derek Gardham, of Newton Poppleford, Devon placed an order with Stins for bulbs.

But he later got several calls from Dutch trucking firm Frans Maas to say other pallets of bulbs were arriving for him in Ipswich.

Associates of the baron later picked up pallets and Mr Gardham did not hear from Stins again.

Customs finally busted Stins operation on December 9, 1997 at Green and Skinners Yard when they discovered 1,092 kilos of cannabis with a street value of £3,623,474.

Kowalewski and Van Leeuwen were arrested in the yard as pallets containing the drug were being loaded into lorries for distribution. The pair claimed they were working for Stins.

The following day a further 954 kilos of cannabis was intercepted by customs at Felixstowe.

The consignment, also been sent by Stins' firm Medallion, had a street value of around £3,165,500, but did not feature on the indictment against Kowalewski and Van Leeuwen.

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