Kawasaki WSBK driver's 18-year jail sentence for drug smuggling

PBM Kawasaki driver found guilty of trying to smuggle £2.5million-worth of drugs and a gun

A LORRY driver who tried to smuggle £2.5million-worth of drugs while transporting equipment for the Kawasaki World Superbike team has been jailed for 18 years.

Phili Roe, of Whitwick, Leicestershire, was found guilty at Cantebury Crown Court of six counts of attempting to import class A drugs, class B drugs, firearms and ammunition.

The 42-year-old was arrested at Dover in April 2011 while driving for the Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki team on the return from the Assen round.

National Crime Agency and Border Force officials intercepted his and another lorry.

Although nothing illegal was found in the vehicle Roe was driving, drugs were found in the other, including 6kg of cocaine, 68k of cannabis resin and 30k of ecstasy tablets.

A Walther P22 handgun and 35 rounds of live ammunition were also found.

Investigators found Roe’s palm print on a box of drugs, as well as a message on his laptop saying the trip to Holland would be a 'pay day' for him.

Malcolm Bragg, of the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, said: 'Right from the start of our investigation Roe denied any knowledge of this importation and was happy to blame his colleagues and team.

'However, thanks to the close co-operation between NCA investigators and Border Force he has been brought to justice and is behind bars where he belongs.'