Drug baron in £200m court order


Curtis Warren, drug baron in £200m court order

A drugs baron has been ordered to pay back almost £200 million within a month after what is believed to be Europe's largest confiscation order.

Curtis Warren, one of Europe's most notorious drug dealers, is serving a 13-year sentence for plotting to smuggle cannabis with a street value of £1 million into Jersey and is due for release from Belmarsh prison in January.

The 50-year-old former Liverpool nightclub bouncer has been warned he must hand over the money within 28 days or face a further 10 years behind bars.

Prosecutors allege Warren was laundering £10 million to £15 million a week from smuggling drugs.

A statement from the State of Jersey's Law Officers' Department read: "The Royal Court of Jersey has today ordered that £198 million be confiscated from Curtis Warren. It is believed to be one of the largest ever confiscation orders made in the British Isles and Europe.

"The confiscation proceedings are the result of several years of extensive investigation into the criminal career and financial affairs of one of Europe's most notorious organised criminals."

The case primarily featured evidence related to cocaine trafficking between 1991 and 1996 which "generated huge sums of monies", the department said.

Prosecutors gathered evidence with authorities in the Netherlands and England to prove that Warren shipped cocaine directly from cartels from South America into Europe on "many occasions", it continued.

The shipments ranged from 500 kilos to multiple tonnes and gained "huge" profits, with a two-ton shipment of cocaine able to sell on the UK market for £40 million wholesale, the department said.

"Today's outcome should send a powerful message to those contemplating conducting any such criminal activities within Jersey," its statement added.

Warren became the first criminal to be the subject of a High Court move to protect the public last month.

The then director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer took the unprecedented step of applying to a High Court judge in London for a Serious Crime Prevention Order against Warren.

Designed to prevent reoffending, it will impose restrictions on Warren's access to mobile phones and telephone kiosks as well as limitations on bank accounts.

SCPOs are normally made at Crown Court following a conviction but Warren was convicted in 2009 in Jersey, which is outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

Prosecutors accused Warren of coordinating a global drugs empire from his cell at Jersey's La Moye prison while awaiting trial between 2007 and 2009, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

He was alleged to have used several illicit mobile phones to contact a network of associates in an attempt to continue his drug trafficking empire.

Some 35,000 calls across 41 countries between March 2008 and October 2009 involving Warren's mobile phones were analysed during the investigation.

Steve Baldwin, the NCA's head of investigations for the North West, said: "The authorities in Jersey have achieved a tremendous result against Curtis Warren, one of the most prolific drug dealers of a generation.

"Making sure that criminals do not profit from their crimes is key to making the UK less of a target for organised crime, and we will be relentless in pursuing their money."