Doncaster man dubbed '˜UK'sÂ cocaine Mr Big' loses latest bid for freedom
A Doncaster man onceÂ dubbed the 'UK's cocaine Mr Big' has lost his latest bid for freedom after he was denied the right to take his case to the Supreme Court.
Russell Knaggs, aged 44,Â was one of fiveÂ men jailedÂ for a total of 73Â years in 2012Â over a plot to smuggle five tonnes of cocaine from Columbia.
VIDEO: Footage shows car speeding away from scene of fatal hit and run in Sheffield city centre They were convicted of conspiringÂ with others to import a huge shipment of the drug to theÂ UK in what was described by the police at the time as '˜like a Hollywood movie'.
Knaggs, originally fromÂ Conisbrough but now behind bars at HMP Doncaster, was serving time at Lowdham Grange Prison inÂ Nottinghamshire when he orchestrated theÂ plot.
Phillip Hadley, now 58Â andÂ originally from Conisbrough, was to provideÂ the money for the operation.
Robert Rich, now 46Â and originally from Barnsley, metÂ external contacts, attended meetings and went on three expeditions abroad.
ColumbianÂ Jesus Anibal Ruiz-Henao, now 57, whoÂ was serving timeÂ with Knaggs at Lowdham Grange, was to use his connections to obtainÂ the drugs.
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But their plotÂ failed when the gang lost their down payment on the first batch of cocaine when their Colombian contact was gunned down by a rival cartel.Â No drugs were everÂ imported and theÂ menÂ always maintained their innocence. But Knaggs was jailed for 20 years, Hadley for 18 years, Ruiz-Henao for 16 years and Rich for 14 years.
A fifth gang member, Anthony Perger, then 51 andÂ from Sheffield, pleaded guilty to the offence in 2012 and and was jailed for five-and-a-half years.
Knaggs,Â Hadley and RichÂ lost aÂ case at the Court of Appeal in August when they claimed their convictions were based onÂ illegally obtained covert material, including email monitoring in the US.
This week they took their case to the Court of Appeal again to apply for permission to take it to the Supreme CourtÂ but had their bid turned down.
Knaggs was serving a prison sentence for his part in aÂ major drug trafficking ringÂ when he tried to mastermind theÂ cocaine smuggling operation.
He was jailed for 16 yearsÂ in 2003 for his part in one of the country's largest drugÂ networks at the time, which had flooded theÂ Midlands andÂ north of England with millions of pounds worth ofÂ cocaine,Â heroin, ecstasy and amphetaminesÂ from a house in Doncaster.
The gang members, whoÂ were snared after aÂ National Crime Squad surveillance operation, were jailed for a total of 90 years between them.
Knaggs, who was 29 when he was jailed,Â admittedÂ conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.