Police officers who noticed Dean Smith and Dipak Ram exchanging a holdall in a Birmingham car park had no idea the arrest would lead to a huge drugs haul.

Ram and Smith were spotted acting suspiciously around a vehicle parked near flats in Sherborne Street, Ladywood, on 9 March this year.

Ram was followed by one officer as he walked off carrying a holdall taken from the car's boot while Smith was stopped behind the wheel of the Toyota Avensis in a nearby road.

A search of the car uncovered 13kg of high-purity cocaine hidden in the boot – with a street value of more than £1.3m ($1.6m) – and a further 19kg of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine were discovered in the base of a settee in Ram's flat.

When officers strip-searched 32-year-old Ram at a police station they found 33 wraps of heroin and cocaine concealed inside his underpants.

Both men admitted possessing drugs with intent to supply and at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (7 October), Ram was jailed for 13 years while 32-year-old Smith, from Watford, was handed an eight year sentence.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Kelly Whyte, said: "This was a fantastic piece of good old police intuition. Smith and Ram were spotted loitering around a parked car which had the boot open... and their suspicions were heightened when Ram took hold of a bag and walked off.

"It acted as the catalyst for us to uncover a huge stash of drugs with a total street value estimated to be more than £3m.

"This was a professional, sophisticated, wholesale drug enterprise with various drugs, including heroin and cocaine, cut and weighed into amounts varying from street deals up to several kilos.

"Both Smith and Ram boasted of their extravagant lifestyles and used the proceeds of their drug dealing to fund trips abroad and buy expensive jewellery.

Drugs and cash
Drugs and cash found in the bust of Dipak Ram and Dean Smith West Midlands Police

"A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) investigation will follow where we will look to strip them of any cash and assets we can show were made through criminal means."

The court heard Smith was a former automobile technician at Formula One motor racing giant McLaren, according to the Daily Mail.

But he had spiralling debts after a failed move to Thailand which had left him unemployed when he returned to Britain.

According to a police statement, Smith said he was in debt and had agreed a fee of £1,200 for two drugs runs; he refused to answer questions about the origins of the drugs.

The court heard the flat in Ladywood, Birmingham, where police spotted the duo had been converted for the purpose of breaking down large scale drugs into smaller scales to sell on the streets.

Mr Williams, defending Smith, told the court that he had made the "biggest and catastrophically stupid" decision to deliver the drugs for a sum of just £1,200.

He added: "He should have ran for the hills but he didn't.

"He was to follow instructions and he travelled from Watford to Birmingham, all observed by police."