Family of Sutton Coldfield drug gang ringleader Jonathan Arnold speaks out

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Jonathan Arnold of Sutton Coldfield, who went to a prestigious £45,000-a-year school, was jailed for 23 and a half years

The family of a drug ringleader from Sutton Coldfield have shared their details of his life after he admitted to four charges of conspiracy to import and supply drugs – cocaine, heroin and ketamine. The major organised crime gang leader, Jonathan Arnold, behind the importation of at least £135m of drugs into the UK was jailed for 23 and a half years.

His mother, Sue, a former Staffordshire Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, told Daily Mail that Jonathan was a student at the prestigious Repton School that costs £45,000-a-year. Roald Dahl and Jeremy Clarkson are among the famed alumni of the school.

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She told Daily Mail: “We still cannot fully comprehend where it all went wrong. We waited 10 years for a child and had given up hope of ever conceiving. He was precious to us from the moment he was born. We were fortunate that we had both been successful and were able to give him the very best life we could.”

The mother also added that she would be appealing against the harsh sentence and has raised questions about the case. She added: “Some people will just say it’s sour grapes and that every mother of a criminal claims her son is innocent.”

Sue Arnold added that her son was an addict who got into trouble with the “real kingpins”. The Repton School alumni had joined his father’s company before starting his own Real Estate Removals.

Jonathan lead a luxurious lifestyle as the gang brought nearly two tonnes of cocaine, heroin and ketamine into the UK via ports using a furniture removal company as a front for their travel, according to the authorities. The gang used fake furniture loads to bring in their packages of drugs in lorries and vans.

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 Jonathan Arnold, 29, of Cremorne Road, Sutton Coldfield. (Photo - West Midlands Police) Jonathan Arnold, 29, of Cremorne Road, Sutton Coldfield. (Photo - West Midlands Police)
Jonathan Arnold, 29, of Cremorne Road, Sutton Coldfield. (Photo - West Midlands Police) | West Midlands Police

Officers working in the Regional Organised Crime Unit for the West Midlands (ROCUWM) dismantled the gang’s operations - which was one of the biggest drug smuggling operations in the region.

The operation started unraveling when in January 2022 one of the couriers visited Europe and his van was searched by French Customs’ officers who found 63 blocks of cocaine weighing 71kg along with 99 bags of ketamine weighing 101kg. The drugs had a UK wholesale value of £2,561,900. The biggest single seizure came in April last year, when the gang tried to bring 1,477kg of cocaine with a street value of around £118m into Portsmouth.

The drugs, hidden among bananas, were seized by Dutch police officers on a ship which had travelled from Colombia to Vlissingen in the Netherlands. The ship was allowed to continue its journey into Portsmouth, after the drugs had been removed.

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