An east London man has been jailed after he attempted to smuggle 600kg of cannabis in crates of broccoli. 

Lee Huseyin, 52, of Stepney Green, and Hazar Koz, 41, from North Finchley, plotted to bring  £2 million of drugs to the UK from Spain and Morocco. 

Koz used his extensive knowledge of the fruit and vegetable trade to hide the drugs.

On Friday (November 10) Koz was jailed for 16 years while co-conspirator Huseyin received a six-year prison sentence. 

In June 2020 a Lithuanian lorry which had been stopped on the outskirts of Belfast was found to contain 585 bags of cannabis concealed in low quality broccoli. 

Messages on Encrochat, an encrypted chat platform which was widely used by organised criminals, revealed that Koz and Huseyin had been planning the smuggling exercise for several months. 

Koz, using the name Obsceneraptor, applied his knowledge of the fruit and vegetable trade to try to make the venture look legitimate. 

Huseyin handled the logistics, ensuring the vehicles arrived safely at London markets and unloaded the drugs ahead of their onward supply to other parts of the country. 

The pair had arranged to supply the drugs to a gang in Northern Ireland. 

Messages also revealed that Koz had planned to take revenge on an associate who had made £500,000 using his contacts. 

Koz messaged another user asking if they had “anyone to fire a couple of shots” below the waist. 

The pair were arrested in May 2022. They were both charged with multiple drug offences while Koz was also charged with conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. 

Hoseyin and Koz pleaded guilty to multiple drugs charges at Harrow Crown Court, while Koz was later also convicted for his role in commissioning the shooting of a rival. 

Following their sentencing on Friday, Andrew Tickner, manager of the Organised Crime Partnership, said: 

“These men ran a large scale drug importation operation, brazenly discussed their criminality on the Encrochat platform in the belief they would never be caught. 

“Koz ordering the shooting of a rival demonstrates the ruthlessness of criminals involved in the illegal drugs trade, and the violence that fuelled by their activities – be it in London or anywhere else in the UK. 

“We continue to work tirelessly to protect the UK public from organised crime groups like this one.”