A GROUP of former public schoolboys face lengthy prison sentences for running a cocaine racket worth Â£7 million a year.
Their criminal activities funded a lavish lifestyle which allowed them to purchase a string of properties, exclusive cars, antiques and luxury holidays.
The gang also included Milroy Nadarajah, a record company executive.
Led by Julian de Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson, a former pupil at Blundellâ€™s, an Â£18,000-a-year boarding school in Devon, the sophisticated operation dealt in large quantities of cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.
A trained pilot, Whiteway-Wilkinson flew the drugs from abroad in a light aircraft and then "repackaged" them in a so-called "factory" in rented business units.
The gang had a customer list of hundreds, believed to have included City businessmen, showbiz celebrities and music industry figures.
Run like a proper business, the operation was so large that extensive computer files - updated daily - were necessary to keep track of everything.
The men were eventually arrested last September following Operation Airborne, a joint Scotland Yard and Customs investigation.
Police have since identified Â£4.5 million in assets but believe further fortunes could be hidden in overseas bank accounts.
Whiteway-Wilkinson, 32, is the son of the antiques dealer and property developer Juan Whiteway-Wilkinson and his wife, Diana.
Whiteway-Wilkinson now lives in a Â£1.2 million home in Buttesland Street, Shoreditch, east London.
Yesterday he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to supply cocaine.
In the dock with him at Londonâ€™s Southwark Crown Court were fellow former public schoolboys James Long, 31, of Shadwell, east London, and Tom Connell, 30, a songwriter of Lucerne Road, Highbury, north London. Both admitted conspiring to supply cocaine.
The other gang member, Nadarajah, 33, admitted the conspiracy count and also to supplying cannabis.
Nadarajah, who was born in Sri Lanka, lived in a "palatial" Â£1.2 million home, the court heard. He had his own record label, Thumping Vinyl, and owned two recording studios in Islington and Walthamstow, London.
His lawyer, Thomas Derbyshire, said: "Artists such as Tom Jones and Kylie Minogue cut records at these premises."
They were also used to produce the theme tune for a James Bond film and music for adverts for Hugo Boss and vodka.
Nadarajah set up a recording studio with Â£25,000 backing from Warner Brothers in 1994.
Mr Derbyshire said: "Thereâ€™s no suggestion that in his time at these premises they were used for the distribution of cocaine or any other substance."
Prosecuting, Francis Sheridan said Nadarajahâ€™s home in Games Road, Cockfosters, north London, was "palatial to say the least", with a Porsche and Jeep Cherokee outside.
Mr Sheridan said: "His home was more akin to Footballersâ€™ Wives than an ordinary hardworking citizen."
When police went there they found envelopes stuffed with thousands of pounds in cash scattered around the house.
Mr Derbyshire said the record boss had become involved in drugs when his music business began to fail.
His house has since been remortgaged, and his Porsche was repossessed by a finance company.
He had been offered Â£5,000 to deliver three boxes of cocaine to a business unit in Brick Lane, east London, on 5 September last year.
Mr Derbyshire said: "We submit it was the first time he was involved with drugs and he was nothing more than a delivery driver or a delivery boy.
"It was a moment of madness, a simple moment of greed, and he feels a great deal of shame."
But the prosecution alleged that Nadarajah was a supplier to a "massive" drug ring run by a group of former public schoolboys, some of whom were also involved in the music industry.
The men will be sentenced today.
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