Drugs mastermind jailed for 27 years

Frank Babar
Frank Babar
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The criminal mastermind behind an operation to smuggle hundreds of kilos of cocaine to South Yorkshire is facing almost three decades in jail.

Frank Babar, aged 48, will spend a minimum of 27 years behind bars for his role in the ‘highly sophisticated’ importation of around £25 million worth of the Class A drug from Mexico.

Babar, known as G-Man, was found guilty of conspiracy to evade the prohibition of the importation of cocaine and conspiracy to conceal the proceeds of crime at Sheffield Crown Court in June.

A jury heard the London restauranteur used aliases to set up a legitimate business as a front for the importation of cocaine from Mexico.

Babar went on business trips to the USA and Mexico to organise shipments of drugs which came hidden in discs concealed in hydraulic scissor lifts.

These would be transported to his business partner Paul Robinson, 35, in Barnsley, who stored them at an industrial estate.

Robinson is already also serving 27 years for overseeing the South Yorkshire arm of the racket, whose members adopted nicknames from the film Full Metal Jacket.

Sheffield was used as the centre of the gang’s activity between 2010 and last year, and became known as Saigon. Ecclesall Road was dubbed ‘The Strip’.

Judge Paul Watson QC, told Babar, of Richmond, London: “You were a central player in the conspiracy to import hundreds of kilos of cocaine.

“Quite apart from the misery Class A drugs cause, there is also vast profit to be made which gives rise to further crime, often violent.

“You went to great lengths to hide your culpability but the jury saw through it.”

The hefty sentence marks the latest success for South Yorkshire Police, which first began the investigation known as Operation Muzzle in 2011.

Eight men are already serving a collective 121-year jail sentence for the part in the crimes.

Robinson’s girlfriend Jaimie Louise MacKinnon, 26, was given a community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work for possessing criminal property. Judge Watson condemned the air hostess for allowing drug money to be laundered in her bank accounts.

And Jake Arnold, 61, known as Cowboy, of St Barnabas Road, Highfield, Sheffield, will be sentenced on August 19 for conspiracy to supply cocaine and MCat.