The last of 33 gang members busted by the Met two years ago was sentenced yesterday at Southwark Crown Court. Operation Eaglewood staged the biggest simultaneous drug raids ever by Scotland Yard in 2008 and uncovered the hub of a vast drug and money laundering network behind the shuttered shop front of Paddington's Royal Oak Taxis.
Those convicted include a 7/7 firefighter hero who turned to cocaine after the traumatic event but went on to become a key member of the criminal network, distributing drugs and laundering money on "an industrial scale". He was on sick leave from LFB and due to give evidence at the 7/7 inquest when he was arrested with over 100kg of cocaine, freshly smuggled to Hythe beach in Kent.
Outwardly a legitimate black cab repair and rental business, the reality of Royal Oak Taxis operations could have been made up on the pages of Martin Amis' London Fields as millions of pounds of drugs and money passed through it and sister bureau de change business, Euro Foreign Exchange nearby.
Image by essexdiver via the Londonist Flickrpool