Millionaire drugs baron jailed

A MILLIONAIRE drugs baron who claimed to rub shoulders with Premiership stars while importing cocaine through Felixstowe is beginning a 22-year jail term today.

By Colin Adwent

A MILLIONAIRE drugs baron who claimed to rub shoulders with Premiership stars while importing cocaine through Felixstowe is beginning a 22-year jail term today.

Jimmy Lee, 40, was arrested at a Bexley Heath hotel after police swooped on drug gang member Neil Cribben, in the car park of Tesco, Copdock, and seized 50 kilos of cocaine valued at £5m.

Judge Austin Issard-Davies also jailed Cribben, of Kemsing, Kent, for ten-and-a-half years when the pair appeared at Inner London Crown court for sentencing yesterday

Lee, from Maidstone, was snared after Dutch police bugged his phone calls and overheard him arranging the importation of the class A drug from Holland.

Sentencing Judge Issard-Davies said Lee, who denied conspiracy to supply cocaine, had been the “prime mover” in the plot.

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The judge told Lee: “Not only do hard drugs cause misery and injury to health, which can be life threatening to addicts, it creates a commerce which results in a variety of crimes.

“I sit in this court and watch the victims of drug addiction come through the dock. I have witnessed the victims of gun crime and knife crime and burglaries.

“These victims include women, the young and the elderly and I see them as they pass through the witness box.

“I look at this huge traffic in human misery and it is created by you to fill your pockets”.

Lee claimed he became wealthy selling cars, jewellery and touting tickets for football matches but jurors convicted him of the drug plot.

Cribben and his brother, Daniel from Gillingham, were arrested by Metropolitan Police officers at Tesco, Copdock, on January 26 last year in a white van loaded with 50 separate one-kilo cocaine parcels.

Neil Cribben, 29, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, but his 31-year-old brother was cleared by the jury.

Lee told the trial his friends included players for Premiership team, Charlton Athletic FC, actors and DJs who he would sell top-of-the-range cars and jewellery to. He said: “I was mixing with footballers almost every week. Sometimes I would get invited to swingers parties, birthday parties, just nights with footballers really”.

Jurors were shown a string of photographs of him next to Holland and Barcelona football star Patrick Kluivert and Charlton player Mark Kinsella.