Curtis Warren found guilty over plot to smuggle £1m of cannabis into Jersey

By Terrapinzflyer · Oct 7, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Curtis Warren found guilty over plot to smuggle £1m of cannabis into Jersey
    Only drug trafficker to make Sunday Times Rich List found guilty alongside five other men and faces 14 years in jail

    One of Britain's most notorious criminals was today found guilty of conspiring to smuggle £1m worth of cannabis into Jersey.

    Curtis Warren, 46, was Interpol's number one most wanted criminal in the mid 1990s and the only drug trafficker to make it onto the Sunday Times Rich List. He had only been out of prison for five weeks when he was arrested in 2007 by Jersey police, accused of being the ringleader of a six-man gang who were trying to import 180kg of cannabis into the island from Holland via boat from France.

    Between 1997 and 2007 Warren was locked up in Holland's highest security jail after being found guilty of conspiring to import £100m worth of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and cannabis, as well as firearms offences. His sentence was lengthened when he killed a fellow prisoner in a fight and was convicted of manslaughter.

    Warren showed no emotion as the foreman of the jury delivered the guilty verdict at the royal court in St Helier in Jersey. He will be sentenced on 4 December and faces a maximum term of 14 years. Also found guilty today were five other men: Liverpool-born John Welsh, 43; James O'Brien, 45, from Glasgow; Jason Woodward, 22, from Dartford; and Paul Hunt, 27, and Oliver Lucas, 23, both from Jersey.

    The result is a major coup for Jersey's beleaguered police force, which has been under pressure for alleged mismanagement of the historic child abuse investigation on the island. It is a victory, too, for the UK's Serious Organised Crime Squad (Soca), which was keeping tabs on Warren under the auspices of its Lifetime Offender Management Programme.

    Warren was accused of orchestrating the conspiracy before he even left his Dutch cell. Soca, along with the Dutch prison authorities, gathered what it described today as "first class intelligence material indicating that Warren was still engaged in drug trafficking activity whilst in prison." As the investigation developed, it became clear that Jersey was to be the focus of Warren's next big job.

    After Warren left prison in June 2007, he was kept under close surveillance. During the five weeks he was a free man, he made 1,500 phone calls, 112 from public phone boxes, and was secretly recorded talking about what he stood to gain from the Jersey plot. Along with one of his co-accused, Jonathan Welsh, he also visited a secluded location on Jersey's east coast that the pair agreed would be a good drop-off point for the drugs, which they planned to ship from Holland via the Normandy coast.

    Warren was taped referring to the plot as "just a little starter", suggesting that if all went well, bigger importations would follow. But he and his five co-conspirators were arrested before any drugs reached Jersey.

    After the verdicts were read out, Bill Hughes, the director general of Soca, said:

    "Serious organised criminals don't suddenly stop just because they've been caught once. That's why when a criminal comes onto Soca's radar, they stay there for life. Curtis Warren was a career criminal for whom prison was a temporary setback. He was already planning his next operation from inside prison, and when he was released Soca was waiting, watching and listening. Together with our partners in the States of Jersey police we've stopped Curtis Warren's plans in their tracks. Criminals need to know that this is a different world now – lifetime management is a reality."

    The acting chief of Jersey police, David Warcup, said: "The conviction of the men involved in this trial marks the end of a complex police operation, which has seen officers from the States of Jersey police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Merseyside police, France, Holland and Belgium, working together.

    "We hope that the conviction of the men sends out a clear message to others that we will continue to tackle those responsible for the importation of drugs into the island.

    "The conviction is also a reflection of the hard work, dedication and commitment of all the officers and agencies involved in this enquiry."

    Helen Pidd, Wednesday 7 October 2009 11.38 BST

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    British drug kingpin, Curtis 'Cocky' Warren, found guilty of smuggling
    One of the criminal underworld’s genuine Mr Bigs was convicted yesterday, after an unprecedented surveillance operation, of plotting to smuggle cannabis worth £1 million into Jersey.

    Curtis Warren, 46, from Toxteth, Liverpool, began planning to take control of the illegal drug trade in the Channel Islands while serving ten years in a Dutch prison for trafficking cocaine, heroin and Ecstasy.

    Nicknamed Cocky, or the Cocky Watchman, because of his reputedly acute antennae for trouble, Warren was nevertheless unaware that his every move in jail was being watched. His visiting room conversations were bugged, his visitors followed and his telephone calls recorded.

    The surveillance intensified when Warren was released in June 2007 and escorted on a ferry back to Britain by armed police. His freedom lasted for just a month and he was arrested in Jersey as soon as concrete evidence of his plan to ship cannabis to the island had been secured.

    The conviction is a significant coup for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which manages secretive monitoring of crime barons suspected of running their organisations from behind bars.

    “Serious organised criminals don’t suddenly stop just because they’ve been caught once,” Bill Hughes, the director-general of Soca, said. “That’s why, when a criminal comes on to Soca’s radar, they stay there for life. Curtis Warren was a career criminal for whom prison was a temporary setback. He was already planning his next operation from inside prison and, when he was released, we were waiting, watching, and listening.”

    His trial in Jersey was delayed for two years as defence lawyers argued that some of the evidence against him had been illegally obtained. It finally opened last month amid the tightest courtroom security the island has seen. Jurors were taken under police guard to a hotel at night and escorted back to court in the morning.

    Warren and five associates were unanimously convicted of planning to buy the cannabis in Amsterdam, take it by car to Normandy and smuggle it to Jersey by boat. Had they succeeded, they would have taken a major chunk of the island’s illegal drug market and earned enough cash to finance further shipments. The jury heard one bugged conversation in which Warren described the scheme as “just a little starter”.

    A source said: “The quantity of drugs was small in the wider context but significant for an island the size of Jersey: £1 million would have been enough to bankroll further activity. We can’t speculate how far Warren would have tried to develop the route or whether he would have expanded the operation into other drugs. The important thing is that he was stopped before he could start.”

    The operation to thwart his return to crime began in earnest in 2006 when it became clear that his prison visitors included active criminals.

    Working with the Dutch police and prison services, Soca gathered what sources said was “first-class intelligence material” indicating that Warren was planning a drugs purchase and shipment.

    On his early release, after an appeal, in June 2007 Warren was tracked on his return to Britain. He moved between addresses in the North West and made a number of trips to Jersey from Manchester airport.

    Soca and the States of Jersey Police observed Warren as he met John Welsh, a fellow Liverpudlian who had visited him in prison. Officers planted a listening device in Welsh’s car, in which the pair spent long periods. Despite having several mobile phones, Warren used telephone boxes when he wanted to make business arrangements, leading to some of those public kiosks being bugged.

    A source said: “Physical and telephonic evidence was gathered in relation to every call he made.”

    Warren, who was once Interpol’s number one target in Europe, has a criminal record stretching back to 1975 when, at 12, he was detained by police as a passenger in a stolen car.

    By 1978 he was spending his first spell in youth detention and in 1982, the year after the Toxteth riots, he had his first taste of life in an adult prison.

    By the late Eighties Warren had moved up from the level of petty criminal, involved in assault, robbery and blackmail, to become a major player in Liverpool’s — and, therefore, Britain’s — illicit drug trade. He travelled frequently to Amsterdam, where Colombian cocaine cartels and Turkish heroin gangs were doing big business and looking for British customers.

    Warren’s underworld reputation was enhanced in 1993 when he was acquitted of a plot to smuggle cocaine hidden in lead ingots. A judge directed this acquittal after it was revealed that the key evidence against him came from a paid informant who was heavily involved in criminal activity.

    In 1997 Warren was ranked number 461 in the Sunday Times Rich List, which estimated his personal wealth at £40 million and attributed it to property. That same year he was was jailed in the Netherlands after being caught in a major international operation.

    A financial inquiry placed his wealth at closer to £80 million and the Dutch courts ordered the confiscation of assets valued at more than £6 million. But the Jersey court heard that, so far, just £180,000 has been traced.

    While in the Dutch jail Warren was sentenced to an additional four years for manslaughter after he killed a Turkish inmate in a fight started by the other man.

    Acting Chief Officer David Warcup, of the States of Jersey Police, said: “We hope that the conviction of the men sends out a clear message to others that we will continue to tackle those responsible for the importation of drugs into the island.”

    Convicted alongside Warren were Welsh, 43, James O’Brien, 45, Jason Woodward, 22, Paul Hunt, 27, and Oliver Lucas, 23. They will be sentenced in December.

    Criminally rich pickings

    Thomas “Slab” Murphy, 60, former chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, was said to have amassed a personal fortune of about £40 million from smuggling petrol and counterfeit goods across the Irish border. A year ago he reached an agreement with UK and Irish authorities to hand over £1 million in assets

    John Palmer, 59, from Bath, Somerset, was convicted of a timeshare fraud involving properties in Tenerife in 2001. He is reputed to have £300 million. He was jailed for eight years and a confiscation order for £35 million was made against him. At the height of his wealth he was said to have owned a West Country mansion, a French chateau, a £750,000 yacht, Porsches, Ferraris, restaurants, a Lear jet and a fleet of helicopters

    Brian Wright, 62, is serving a 30-year jail term for cocaine smuggling. At the height of his career his wealth was estimated at £100 million and he had a box at Ascot and a flat in Chelsea Harbour

    Terry Adams, 59, has had his wealth estimated at £50 million, although he once declared that he had only £50. When police raided his £1.6 million home in 2003 they recovered stolen art and antiques worth more than £500,000
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    UK Jails Top Drugs Baron with Bulgaria Cocaine Connections

    Curtis 'Cocky' Warren, who owns property in Bulgaria, has been jailed for 13 years after he and five members of his gang were convicted last October of a plot to smuggle GBP 1 M of cannabis into Jersey.

    Warren, who is one of the richest men in Britain and owns an undisclosed number of properties in Bulgaria as well as 300 houses in his home town Liverpool, was sentenced Thursday.

    Warren started off as a small-time street dealer in Liverpool, and went on to build a massive drugs empire, amassing millions of pounds along the way. He was arrested in 1996 in his house in the Netherlands after millions of GBP worth of cocaine were found in Rotterdam and traced to him, the UK Times newspaper reported.

    Warren was jailed previously in 1996 after an investigation carried out by the Dutch authorities, which suggested he owned a winery in Bulgaria, from where he shipped cocaine

    Warren planned to suspend the cocaine in Bulgarian red wine, ship it to Liverpool and liberate it from the liquid using a chemical extraction process. But the plan was foiled.

    In 1996, the Dutch police - who had been eavesdropping on his mobile phone calls - intercepted 400kg of cocaine.

    The Dutch court sentenced Warren to 12 years and he was to receive a further four years after being convicted of the manslaughter of a Turkish fellow prisoner after a fight in the exercise yard in 1999.

    Warren served two-thirds of his sentence on both counts, a total of ten years and eight months.

    December 4, 2009, Friday
  3. Hey :-)
    Curtis Warren loses appeal over 198m order

    Convicted drug dealer Curtis Warren has lost his appeal against a £198m confiscation order.

    [IMGR=''white''][/IMGR]In November, the 50-year-old from Liverpool was told to pay the money or face a further 10 years in jail.

    Warren, who is believed to have a £300m fortune, was jailed for 13 years in 2009 for plotting to import cannabis into Jersey.

    The Jersey Court of Appeal has ruled he must pay the £198m or serve the extra jail time.

    Car bugged

    In 2009 Warren and five others were convicted of plotting to smuggle cannabis with a street value of £1m into the Channel Island.

    He received a 13 year sentence, with the others receiving sentences ranging from five to 12 years.

    Warren's previous appeals had centred around Jersey Police's use of evidence gained by bugging a car.

    The vehicle, used by an accomplice of Warren, was driven through France, Belgium and Holland while he worked on a drugs deal.

    Warren's lawyer, Advocate Stephen Baker, also told the court he did not have the necessary assets to be able to pay the £198m.

    But Judge Michael Beloff QC said the evidence used was "entirely reasonable" and he was satisfied Warren could pay the money.

    Photograph BBC; Curtis Warren jailed 2009 for importing cannabis into Jersey
    27 March 2014
    BBC News Jersey
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