Three members of a Europe-drug drug and cigarette smuggling gang have been jailed after they caught with more than £1million in cash.
Arturs Nespors, 30, Alexksej Rybnikov, 42, and Marius Stancikas, 40, were arrested when police swooped on a houses in Coventry and Manchester and found huge amounts of cash.
Police around Europe raided 40 other properties at the same time and rounded up other members of the gang, including the Lithuanian ringleader, who was picked up in Spain.
The gang’s main activity was smuggling drugs and cigarettes into Britain. The cash made was then taken back to Poland, where it was laundered by buying up luxury properties and cars in Spain.
The gang made a huge amount of cash from their crimes, with more than £1million found
Raids in Coventry and Manchester uncovered Sainsbury’s Bags For Life stuff with £10 notes
The raids in Poland, Lithuania, Spain and Britain uncovered more than £7million (8million euros) as well as gold bars, diamonds, jewellery and sports cars.
Authorities estimate the group had shuffled more than £600million around the continent in the last three years.
Nespors and Rybnikov have now been sentenced to five years and three months each, while Stancikas got two years and three months.
Another Lituanian man, Agnius Sindaras, 43, has been deported back to his home country,
A HMRC spokesman said today: ‘HMRC led UK-based investigations into Nespors, Rybnikov and Stancikas, who were involved in moving millions of pounds of criminal money out of the UK.
‘The money is believed to have derived from the sale of illicit tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
‘The trio used a house in Coventry as a hub for their criminal operation and smuggled large sums of cash out of the country hidden amongst clothes in shrink wrapped suitcases.’
Police raided this luxury property in Spain at the same time as officers around Europe moved in
This car was among a number of luxury vehicles found by police in Spain