A man convicted of the importation and supply of skunk cannabis into Morley has been ordered to pay back £4.7million.
Johannes Elmendorp, 52, who is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence, has been told he must pay the money within six months after a hearing at Leeds Crown Court on December 19.
If Elmendorp fails to pay he will face an extension to his prison sentence of five years.
He is serving time for organising the UK side of a multi-million pound conspiracy in which an estimated £150 million worth of cannabis was imported into the UK from the Netherlands between 2008 and 2009 secreted inside boxes of fresh flowers.
Using legitimate haulage companies, other members of the gang co-ordinated the transportation of the flower boxes from Holland to areas in Leeds.
They also arranged the rental of a storage unit in Topcliffe, Morley where the drugs would be stored. The shipments were destined for Leeds, Bradford, Redditch or Birmingham.
The investigation involved West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Division, West Mercia Police, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and both Dutch and German authorities.
It spanned Western and Eastern Europe, from the UK to Ireland, Holland, France, Germany, Italy and the Ukraine. West Yorkshire Officers launched the investigation in October 2008 and used covert tactics and intelligence gathering.
During the confiscation proceedings, the wholesale value of the drugs were valued at £47million.
Financial Investigation Manager David Charity, of West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “This has been a protracted and arduous investigation, Elmendorp moved around numerous European countries in his efforts to frustrate law enforcement. Whilst the law abiding public are struggling to make ends meet in these difficult times, Elmendorp has made millions from importing controlled drugs into our area.
“This confiscation order continues to show that West Yorkshire Police is dedicated to protecting the public by tackling serious and organised crime and making criminals pay.”
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson said: “This case really highlights the considerable assets which can potentially be recovered from criminal enterprises such as this and which could be used to the benefit of local people and police.
“I am campaigning for all the money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to be returned to our communities, as half currently goes back to Government and cases like this are a timely reminder of the amounts involved..
“If you would like to see these ill gotten gains returned to West Yorkshire, I would urge you to sign my petition http://action.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/page/s/giveusbackallthemoney.”
West Yorkshire Police encourage members of the public to report people they suspect of leading a life funded by crime to them. To report someone call 0800 555 111. For more information, visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/whyshouldthey