A gangster who has been jailed for 32 years was secretly recorded telling a girlfriend: "No one can control me baby – I’m f***ing nuts."
Drugs gangster James Mulvey, who spent £75,000 cash every week, brought to justice after being targeted for surveillance by the National Crime Agency.
The recordings gave a chilling glimpse into his life as one of the UK’s biggest drugs smugglers.
In one Mulvey revealed how he feared assassination, stating: "The life I lead, you never know what can happen… I do what I do, people try to kill me."
The drugs kingpin lived a life of luxury, building a Spanish villa with an infinity pool, driving top-end cars and moving between five-star hotels.
He used a complex web of companies, including his Birmingham haulage firm, as a front operation for an international cocaine and cannabis empire, in which he was the linchpin of four bosses – before one was shot dead on the Costa Del Sol.
Originally from Solihull, the 42-year-old "untouchable" oversaw the illicit trade from luxury hotels around the world and his hideaway in southern Spain, Birmingham Live reported.
Initially, the consignments of cocaine and cannabis were hidden in metal rollers and transported by a string of haulage companies and individuals from Holland to Ireland via Belgium and the West Midlands.
The rollers were delivered to Inkberrow in Worcestershire before being driven on to Dublin by Mulvey’s firm, JBS Transport.
The ring was busted after an eagle-eyed employee at a transport warehouse in Belgium tipped off police. The industrial rollers were discovered to contain 20 blocks (21.86kg) of cocaine, 364 blocks (391.68kg) of cannabis and 10 blocks (10kg) of phenacetin, a cutting agent for the Class A drug.
Belgian investigators teamed up with UK law enforcement to carry out a controlled delivery of one shipment to Naas in Dublin, via Worcestershire, in February 2007.
Five people were convicted for a total of 88 years in November 2009.
Around 14 other shipments had previously slipped through, with all 15 having a total estimated worth of more than £40million.
In 2015 the National Crime Agency’s team in Birmingham picked up the case from West Midlands Police, pursuing an investigation across nine countries involving covert surveillance, complex mobile phone analysis and more than 20 million documents.
At times, the case was like a old school crime drama.
At one point two of Mulvey’s associates were monitored meeting at Sutton Coldfield crematorium following his arrest in Lithuania while another was named ‘Blinky’.
Mulvey was also recorded saying: "The life I lead, you never know what can happen…I do what I do, people try to kill me."
In another intercepted conversation he told his then girlfriend: "Listen, no one can control me baby, even me dad and mum will tell ya I’m f***ing nuts.
"I made my path a long time ago baby, when I was younger than you, I don’t want you to go down that path.
"I want you to go down, like, the same as my children, a good path."
Along with the gangster talk, one of the key intercepts captured Mulvey admitting his part in the earlier conspiracy.
He said: "Remember I used to do bits and bobs for what Barry got nicked off in Inkberrow, remember."
The father-of-five, who is estranged from his wife, was considered a ‘ghost’ who went to extensive efforts to hide his online, financial and real-world footprints.
Always on the move, he changed ‘burner’ mobile pre-pay phones on a daily basis and used trusts, advisors and accountants to launder his profits to off-shore accounts.
The operation left him able to spend around £75,000 a week in cash, funding his cocaine habit, Rolex watches, hotels and leased top-end cars such as Land Rovers and Mercedes.
The grandest symbol of his wealth is a 1.5million Euro villa near Marbella, with indoor and outdoor pools, a cinema and a lift between floors.
Mulvey also had interests in bars and nightclubs, said to include the now-closed Geisha bar in the Mailbox.
The crime overlord was worth around £5million, with JBS Transport described in court as a major sub-contractor for TNT in Birmingham.
The international delivery company paid millions into Mulvey’s apparently legitimate front business while knowing nothing of the drugs operation.
Laundering millions of pounds, his tentacles also stretched overseas, including to Brazil, Portugal, the Isle of Man, and the Maldives, and into Ireland, where he has relatives in the Dublin area.
Mulvey faced a different kind of recrimination when Gerard Kavanagh, another of the four bosses, was shot dead in the Marbella area in September 2014.
Around the time of the murder Mulvey was covertly recorded saying “…but this is what my life was, I’ve tried to get away with it, but I don’t want you involved in it, do you understand how these people work? They kill the people you love.”
Mulvey continued to evade justice even after returning to the UK for the first time in five years in 2012, apparently because his father was ill.
However with the help of Lithuanian special forces he was finally caught, half-dressed, at gunpoint in a house in Kaunus on March 28, 2017.
Two ex girlfriends, one from Brazil and another from Hong Kong, bravely assisted the prosecution.
Andy Quinn, also of the National Crime Agency , said: "Mulvey was considered one of the untouchables, especially among other criminals in the West Midlands.
"He actually left the country for five years after the first part of this investigation came to fruition and clearly thought he had got away with these offences.
"The message is that no matter where you go, the NCA, with its partners, will track you down."
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