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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 19:00 GMT 20:00 UK
Drugs baron jailed for 22 years
Abdullah Baybasin
Baybasin's gang routinely carried guns, police said

A drugs baron thought to be responsible for much of Britain's heroin trade has been jailed for 22 years.

Abdullah Baybasin used a gang of footsoldiers to racketeer, import drugs and instil fear into London's Turkish and Kurdish community, jurors heard.

A Turkish national living in Edgware, north London, he extorted hundreds of thousands of pounds from businesses.

He was convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin at Woolwich Crown Court in February.

He had also admitted conspiracy to blackmail and to pervert the course of justice.

Baybasin, who uses a wheelchair after being shot by a rival, is believed to have been in the international drugs trade for at least two decades.

They'd quite often go with armoured machetes, baseball bats and smash premises up
Det Ch Insp Robin Plummer

The court heard his gang, known as the Bombacilar - or Bombers - specialised in extortion and protection rackets.

They enforced their will on the Kurdish community through kidnappings and death threats. Police said they routinely carried guns.

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Plummer, who was in the now-defunct National Crime Squad, said the gang had intimidated people for years.

"Threats were made with firearms, they'd quite often go with... machetes, baseball bats and smash premises up," he said.

"People were kidnapped against their will, brought to premises, threats were made."

'Europe's Pablo Escobar'

But it was the relatively small seizure of 5.5lb (about 2.5 kilos) of heroin, that led to his arrest.

A transaction between a Liverpool-based heroin dealer and a Kurdish gang was watched by the National Crime Squad.

Huseyin Baybasin playing with his dogs
Baybasin's brother Huseyin is in jail in Holland

Months of surveillance and phone records placed Baybasin at the heart of the drugs deal.

Det Ch Insp Plummer told BBC London: "It doesn't make a difference if you catch an individual with 100 kilos of drugs, or 2.5 kilos.

"As long as you can demonstrate his position within organised crime, then the sentence will obviously reflect that involvement."

Ten other members of his gang have already been convicted and jailed for between five and 16 years for a variety of offences including kidnap and supplying heroin.

His brother, Huseyin, once described as "Europe's Pablo Escobar" is serving life in a Dutch prison after being convicted of drug smuggling.


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