A PILOT has admitted conspiring to import cocaine worth around £5 million into the UK after the drugs haul was found in his light aircraft at a Yorkshire airfield.
Andrew Wright, 51, of Barlow in North Yorkshire, was arrested after Border Force officers examined a Cessna N55EU which landed at Breighton Aerodrome near Selby on November 17.
Breighton Airfield, a former Second World War heavy bomber base and cold-war nuclear missile launch site, is now home to the classic aircraft collection of the Real Aeroplane Company and flying club the Real Aeroplane Club.
A total of 34 kilos of cocaine was discovered, a haul valued at £5 million by the National Crime Agency, whose officers are investigating.
At a hearing at Leeds Crown Court today, Wright pleaded guilty and was remanded in custody until sentencing on March 30.
Senior investigating officer Mick Maloney, from the NCA’s Border Policing Command, said: “Andrew Wright used his piloting skills in an attempt to import a large amount of cocaine which I’ve no doubt would have ended up being sold on the streets of the north of England.
“Together with law enforcement partners here and abroad the NCA will continue to target crime groups involved in the international trafficking of drugs.”
Earlier this year Border Force, the NCA and UK police forces launched Project Pegasus, a multi-agency campaign encouraging people living and working close to small airports to report unusual activity associated with general aviation.
General aviation includes aircraft such as microlights, helicopters, and business jets, and activities such as aerial surveys, deliveries, corporate flights and leisure flying.
Anyone with information about unusual activity can report it to their local police force on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.