A HERO fireman honoured for rescuing 7/7 bomb victims has been jailed over a £100million cocaine ring.
Simon Ford won a London Fire Brigade Gold Award for pulling people to safety from the bus blown up in Tavistock Square in 2005.
But he has been jailed for 14 years after admitting being a key player in an underworld network that flooded south-east England with drugs.
His case can be reported for the first time after the final member of the 35-strong gang was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.
A total of 33 criminals have been jailed for more than 200 years for drugs, money-laundering and firearms offences.
The ringleaders netted more than £100m in cash via a run-down cab firm in Paddington, central London.
Royal Oak Taxis received huge shipments of cocaine and laundered money for crooks who swapped bags of up to £500,000 for smaller notes.
Boss Eyad Iktilat, 47, lived a footballer’s lifestyle with several homes and a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley Continental and a Ferrari.
Iktilat was also a director of Euro Foreign Exchange, where £100m was laundered. He was jailed for 30 years.
Ford, 41, was one of 22 people arrested when more than 500 cops raided homes across London and the Home Counties in February 2008. The operation was the largest conducted by British police and followed 10 months of surveillance and bugging.
Ford was caught at his flat in Chertsey as he divided 100 kilos of cocaine, worth £5.5m, for delivery to couriers at service stations around the M25.
During the raid dozens of phone calls were made to three pay-as-you-go mobiles as underworld contacts tried to find out why Ford was late.
Det Supt Steve Richardson, head of Scotland Yard’s Special Intelligence Section, said the operation had dealt a “huge blow” to the drugs industry.
He said: “These criminals had been living the lives of wealthy businessmen. The lives they are now leading could not be more different.”
The network, which included convicted murderers, was linked to up to 10 gangs and had interests in Colombia, Spain, Israel, India and Dubai.
Illegal immigrant Anwar Laraba, 39, of St John’s Wood, north London, was the final member to be sentenced.
He was jailed for four years and eight months yesterday after admitting conspiracy to supply cannabis.( HUH? WTF?
It was the last in a series of 16 linked hearings that formed the biggest drugs case ever handled in London.