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22 December 2018, 06:32 | Updated: 22 December 2018, 06:41
A British drugs kingpin who rose through the ranks to command a widely feared global network has been jailed for 22 years in France, officials have said.
Robert Dawes, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was convicted of drug trafficking offences after a 1.3 tonne cocaine seizure at a Paris airport, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
It described the 46-year-old as "one of the most influential and feared organised criminals in Europe" after the investigation by agencies across five nations.
The NCA said he was convicted after he was heard in secret recordings bragging to a member of a Colombian cartel about his involvement of smuggling the drugs in suitcases from Caracas, Venezuela.
Dawes was arrested when officers swooped on his mansion in Benalmadena, a town in the Costa del Sol, Spain, where they found guns, cash and encrypted phones, the NCA said.
His network was said to span Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia, using corruption, violence and intimidation to exert control, while his associates are suspected of shootings and murders in the UK and abroad.
NCA deputy director Matt Horne said: "Dawes was one of the most significant organised criminals in Europe with a network that literally spanned the globe.
"Dawes was prepared to use extreme levels of violence in order to further his reputation and take retribution against those who crossed him.
"Members or associates of his criminal group are known to have been involved in intimidation, shootings and murders."