Two leaders at the centre of an international drugs ring have been jailed for smuggling more than £1.5 million of heroin into the country.
Tahir Mahmood, from Stourbridge, was described as being in control of the group which smuggled over 46kg of the pure Class A drug from Pakistan.
In two cases mules were caught bringing the drug through customs at Birmingham Airport.
Mahmood, aged 53, of Ridge Grove, was jailed for 16 years at Birmingham Crown Court.
His right hand man Anwar Bashir, aged 43 from Bradford, was locked up for 15 years.
Both were snared through an investigation by the National Crime Agency and their counterparts across Europe.
His Honour Judge James Burbidge told the pair: “When heroin is placed on the streets it creates misery to many.
“Many families are blighted, many communities blighted and you wanted to make money out of that.
“Neither of you are addicted to drugs, you were content to make money and accept the misery that would cause to others.”
Mahmood previously pleaded guilty to five counts -two of importing heroin into the UK and three of assisting or inducing an offence abroad.
Bashir was found guilty after a trial of one count of importing heroin and two of assisting or inducing an offence abroad.
Tim Hannam, prosecuting, said the drugs were imported using different routes through Spain, Austria and the Netherlands.
Mahmood and Bashir would travel from the UK to Amsterdam before catching a train to Dusseldorf airport where security was deemed to be lacking.
However a string of seizures by customs officials in Spain, Austria and Pakistan – where the drugs originated – eventually led the National Crime Agency to Mahmood and Bashir.
Bugs were placed in Mahmood’s home and car and telephone intercepts recorded by Spanish authorities led to their arrest.
Both were charged with a Christmas delivery of heroin through Birmingham Airport on December 21 2012.
CCTV captured the pair waiting casually for courier Mamad Chagani. The footage then showed them waiting for a cab for the mule which was later pulled over by police and the drugs seized.
Mr Hannan told the court: “He (Chagani) had flown by a different route this time, from Islamabad to Karachi to Dubai, and then on to Birmingham.
“Under his clothes, he was wearing a body suit stuffed with heroin.”
Police discovered nearly four kilograms of heroin on the mule.
While Bashir got out of the drugs trade shortly afterwards, Mahmood again met a mule at bringing Heroin to Birmingham on March 21 last year.
The courier was again arrested shortly after arrival but a note in his pocket linked him directly to Mahmood.
Paul Risby, Branch Commander at the National Crime agency welcomed the sentences handed down.
He said: “We proved Mahmood and Bashir were linked to seizures totalling 46 kilos but I believe the network could have been responsible for many more importations – bringing misery, harm and violence to communities in Birmingham, Bradford and cities across the UK and Europe.
“Tackling the supply of drugs on a global level and protecting the UK’s borders are priorities for the NCA and its partners. We targeted the couriers one by one and obtained the evidence that led to the downfall of the two men controlling the network. They are now behind bars where they belong.”