Jail for Canonbury drug smuggler caught with 35kg of heroin in a taxi

Some of the heroin found in the bust that saw Canonbury man Yasar Ozekmecki jailed for 10 years. Pic

Some of the heroin found in the bust that saw Canonbury man Yasar Ozekmecki jailed for 10 years. Picture: National Crime Agency - Credit: Archant

A Canonbury drug smuggler faces more than a decade behind bars after being found in a taxi with 35kg of heroin.

Yasar Ozekmecki, 26, was among nine crooks jailed over a £10million heroin operation this week.

The gang was snared when officers from the National Crime Agency and North West Regional Organised Crime Unit spotted three of its members collecting and delivering the class A drug from lorries at a motorway service station in June last year.

Ozekmecki, of Cleveland Road, pleaded guilty to the importation of class A drugs and was locked up for 10 years and eight months when he appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday.

Although he was not seen at the Lymm services on the M6, officers tracked him down after arresting they had spotted there – Erwin Hendriks, 45, Tomasz Dylewski, 34, and Jerzy Banucha, 47.

The drugs were in colour-coded packages and were loaded into other cars over the course of two hours, also leading police to five other people.

Joanne Ralfs, senior investigating officer at the National Crime Agency, said: “This was a meticulously planned operation by organised criminals to distribute millions of pounds worth of heroin throughout the UK.

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“The nine men sentenced were well aware they were engaged in serious criminality, yet such was their confidence they conducted their handovers in broad daylight, in a public motorway service station, apparently with no concern for who saw them.”

Ringleader Hendriks, of Utrecht in the Netherlands, admitted importing class A drugs and was jailed for 16 years. Dylewski and Banucha, both Polish nationals described as Hendriks’ “lieutenants”, were jailed on the same charge for 13 years and four months each.