A British drugs baron who ran a multi-million euro cocaine smuggling operation from a luxury villa in Spain has been jailed for 18 years.
Paul Monk, 56, was arrested by Spanish police in April 2015 during a dramatic raid on his four-bedroom property in Javier, near Benidorm.
When law enforcement officers searched his home, they found plant pots stuffed with money and notes documenting a 997kg cocaine deal with an estimated street value of nearly £60 million (€69.22 million).
Police also discovered a fake Slovenian passport and an imitation firearm at his villa, the Old Bailey in London heard during his trial.
The court was told Monk was busy instructing workers he had hired to lay expensive tiles around his large swimming pool at the time of the raid.
“He never left his house as a security measure to avoid being arrested,” a Civil Guard spokesman said after Monk’s arrest.
“He got other people to bring him food and other things in the villa where he hid out, leading the life of an authentic fugitive.”
Monk had been wanted by police in the UK since December 2013, when he breached the conditions of residency conditions imposed on him as part of a previous conviction for cannabis smuggling, for which he was jailed for nine years.
He was caught nearly a year after a European Arrest Warrant was issued for his detention, and then deported back to Britain to stand trial for cocaine trafficking.
Monk pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a quantity of class A drugs between January 2014 and April 2015 and was sentenced by Judge Anuha Dhir QC on Wednesday. He was handed an additional four-year term to run concurrently for supplying 1kg of cocaine in London in May 2013, police said.
Judge Dhir told Monk: “I am satisfied that you played a leading role in that conspiracy.
“The purity of the cocaine you supplied, your lifestyle and the items found on your arrest in Spain go to proving that.”
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Sergeant David Williams, the British officer in charge of the case, said: “Monk is a career criminal who showed a disregard for the laws of the UK after he fled to Spain in 2013 to escape justice.
“He obtained false identity documents in order to evade authorities while he continued to run an international drug supply network from his home in Spain.
“After his arrest, expert analysis by Met detectives revealed the large scale of Monk’s drug trafficking network and of the huge sums of money he was receiving for the illegal importation of cocaine to the UK.
“This evidence has proved crucial in establishing the pivotal role Monk played in the drugs network.”
Monk was jailed in 2007 for coordinating an attempt to smuggle cannabis worth £3 million into the UK.