A drug-smuggling operation brought over £10 million worth of cocaine into the UK under the guise of a Leicester-based interior design company, a jury has heard.
Prosecutor David Herbert alleged that the six men standing trial smuggled Class A drugs from Amsterdam to the UK inside office furniture. Leicester police seized 20 kilograms of cocaine and 289 grams of heroin in total.
The defendants are accused of using fake kitchen-design business CJC Interiors to front the operation.
CJC Interiors, which operated from the Belgrave Gate area of Leicester, appeared as a fully functioning, normal business, offering bespoke kitchen fittings and built-in storage solutions to its clients.
On its website, the company even claims to hold an ISO 9001:2000 certificate – a recognised industry measure of quality.
But it now believed that the men were involved in an organised drugs conspiracy, involving consignments of cocaine from Amsterdam and heroin flown in from Pakistan.
"They were international drug traffickers of a serious calibre," Herbert told a jury.
According to Herbert, the "heads of the group" were individuals named Jagdish Patel and Talib Hussain. Chandrakant Chavda was described as Patel's partner at CJC Interiors.
"Patel used his involvement in a kitchen-design business as cover and smuggled cocaine inside office furniture," Herbert said. "Patel was a director of CJC Interiors Ltd, in Belgrave Gate."
"Chavda was aware of Patel's trafficking," he continued. "During a police interview, he admitted agreeing to adapt furniture with secret compartments for Patel."
The trial continues.