A former detective who was "pivotal" to the success of a £200 million cocaine-smuggling plot was jailed for 23 years today.
Michael Daly, who is already serving eight years behind bars for a similar conspiracy, was "driven by greed", police said.
Judge Henry Blacksell QC sentenced Daly when he appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court in London.
Daly's co-conspirator, former firefighter Alan Wells, was jailed for 14 years.
Daly used skills and knowledge gained as a Metropolitan Police drug squad detective to try to smuggle 62 bales - more than 1,500kg (3,300lb) - of cocaine into southern Ireland.
But Daly and the gang were foiled when their boat ran out of fuel in rough seas and was shipwrecked off the Irish coast on July 2 2007.
Daly, 49, who is already serving eight years behind bars over another failed drug smuggling operation, and former firefighter Wells, 57, of Blenheim Road, Sidcup, south east London, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Daly was pivotal to the plot's success and was due to share in the huge profits, police said.
He was in overall charge of the logistics and also possessed local knowledge to plan the operation as his family lived on the south coast of Ireland.
Wells admitted being paid £100,000 for his role in helping Daly to organise the logistics.
Detective Inspector Grant Johnson, from the Met's Serious and Organised Crime Command, said: "Driven by greed, their activities would no doubt have netted them large sums of money had it not been for law enforcement agencies, particularly our Irish colleagues, working in partnership to identify and convict those concerned.
"Daly, one of the key ringleaders, was an ex-Met detective, who, once leaving the service, clearly abused the knowledge and skills he gained as a police officer for criminal gain.
"We hope this shows that, no matter who you are, or what job you do, if you commit the crime, the consequences will follow."
Mark Gadsden, for the Crown, told the court the 1,554kg of cocaine of 75% purity had a retail value of around £140 million and a street value of £235 million.
He said it remained the largest single seizure in the UK and Ireland.
Judge Blacksell described the amount involved as "enormous", adding: "You don't have to work daily in the justice system to be aware of the devastating consequences of this amount of drugs being imported into this country."
Malcolm Swift QC, for Daly, argued that the former policeman, who left the force in the 1990s after an incident where he was found drunk and disorderly, became involved in the plot to repay a debt.
Judge Blacksell told the former drug squad detective: "I'm not impressed at all about the debt aspect, if there's any truth in that.
"You betrayed your colleagues let alone your own background."
Mr Swift argued that Daly was not a main player in the plot but Judge Blacksell told him: "You knew what your role was from the very first time you started organising false passports and the purchase of this rib from South Africa."
Daly had used a fraudulently obtained passport in another man's name during the preparations for the arrival of the drugs.
Mr Swift said Daly knew he had "brought shame and dishonour down on those he loves".
He had never been a corrupt police office but had left the force after two incidents involving alcohol.
He went on to become a black cab driver but lost his licence in 2005 after he was caught drink-driving.
He made the mistake of borrowing money from Martin Wanden - who has already been jailed for his part in the conspiracy - and felt obliged to help with the plot as a way to repay the debt.
He helped with the logistics and had local knowledge of Ireland but "was to play no part in the onward distribution of these drugs".
Today's sentence will run consecutively with the eight-year sentence he is already serving.Reuse content