Mohammed Kaleem Bux, 49, fled while on bail in 1998 and was featured in national crackdown on court dodgers in 2005.
When he flew back from Pakistan in January he passed through the airport unchallenged despite using his own name, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Bux, who left a wife and three children in Pakistan, spent two weeks with family members before handing himself in to police.
Bux, of Barkerend Road, Bradford, was secretly recorded discussing the smuggling of heroin in the summer of 1996, the court heard. Prosecutor Patrick Palmer said the main target of the police inquiry was Ashiq Elahi and officers installed listening devices at his home in Branksome Court, Heaton.
Elahi, 34, also fled the country before his trial, but was rearrested in Ireland after two years on-the-run and jailed for 12 years.
Abdul Iqbal QC, for Bux, said he left the country to see his mother, who was gravely ill and died a few months later. Bux claimed to have become involved in the conspiracy to raise money to start a taxi business. Family members in this country persuaded him to return in January.
Mr Iqbal said his client was surprised not to be arrested at the airport. After meeting his family he walked into a police station and surrendered to custody.
Bux pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import heroin and Judge Neil Davey QC sentenced him to seven years and six months in jail.
Bux was told he would have a further six months added to his jail term for breaching bail.