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This guy was a pimp..........

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_38082829_wright300.jpg An arrest warrant is out for Mr Wright



The alleged ringleader of the largest cocaine smuggling operation to target the UK could be returned to Britain.

An international arrest warrant is out for Brian Brendan Wright, who is believed to have moved to northern Cyprus.

The BBC has learned that the Turkish authorities on the island may be prepared to hand over Mr Wright if relevant papers are produced.

_38075598_smug180.jpg John Van Staden was sentenced to nine years



Fifteen members of a cocaine smuggling operation have already been jailed in a series of trials in the UK and abroad.

Customs and Excise allege that Mr Wright was the principle financier and organiser of a drug gang which brought at least £360m worth of cocaine into Britain.

The 54-year-old has so far remained out of the reach of Custom and Excise officers because Cyprus has no extradition treaty with the UK.

BBC crime correspondent Stephen Cape said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defence in Nicosia would look favourably on an application to hand over Mr Wright if all the proper papers detailing the allegations against him, are presented to the Turkish Cypriot police department.

Whereabouts uncertain

This could be done even though there is no formal extradition treaty.

A spokesman in London for northern Cyprus said it was not clear if the suspect was still on the island.

But if he was, he would have been aware of the recent publicity surrounding attempts to get him returned to the UK because there had been local newspaper coverage.

Last week gang member Hilton John Van Staden, a 52-year-old South African, was jailed for nine years.

At Bristol Crown Court he had admitted conspiracy to import drugs.

Intelligence operation

Sentences totalling 206 years have already been handed out following a massive customs operation involving South America, Europe and the Caribbean.

In 1996 an Irish vessel called the Sea Mist, destined for the UK, was searched by customs officials in Cork.

Officials found nearly 600 kilos of cocaine, triggering an international intelligence operation.

The court heard Staden organised yachts to transport millions of pounds worth of cocaine from the Caribbean to the UK, but had little direct contact with the drugs.


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Underworld rich list



This is a rich list with a difference, a roll call of the UK's wealthiest criminals, among them drug barons, people smugglers and fraudsters.

Crime does pay - for some. The richest villains in the UK are worth hundreds of millions of pounds, with the number one fraudster said to be as rich as the Queen.

The BBC has delved into the criminal underworld to discover the elite of British crime to produce the Underworld Rich List (see below).

The resulting three-part series of the same name follows the fortunes of these villans, among them Mickey Green, a London armed robber-turned-drug trafficker; Curtis Warren, a Toxteth street dealer who's made it big; and professional gambler Brian Wright, who is now a fugitive cocaine baron.

UK'S RICHEST DRUG BARONS Who? Business? Worth? 1. Brian Brendan Wright Drug trafficking £100+m 2. Michael Tyrrell Drug trafficking £100m 3. Curtis Warren Drug trafficking £80+m 4. Mickey Green Drug trafficking £75m 5. A Liverpool godfather* Drug trafficking £55m 6. A London crime family* Drug trafficking £50m 7. David Huck Drug trafficking £30m 8. Brian Charrington Drug trafficking £20+m 9. Walter Douglas Drug trafficking £20m 10. Thomas McGraw Drug trafficking £14m * denotes can't be named for legal reasons



UK'S RICHEST FRAUDSTERS Who? Business Worth? 1. John Palmer Timeshare fraud £300m 2. Sheridan Leslie Cox Boiler room fraud £280m 3. A Scottish-based team* VAT fraud £30m 4. A playboy businessman* VAT fraud £15+m 5. An entrepreneur* Pension fund fraud £15m 6. A swindler now on the run* Accounting fraud £11.85m 7. Monmoham Singh Sandhu VAT fraud £6+m 8. A criminal hard-liner from Kent* VAT fraud £6m 9. David Withers VAT fraud £2.5m 10. Azil Nadir Fraud £2m * denotes can't be named for legal reasons


UK's RICHEST SMUGGLERS Who? Business? Worth? 1. Tom 'Slab' Murphy Cigarette and oil smuggling £35-40m 2. The Deo Gang People smuggling £37m 3. Martin Potter Drugs, cigarette and arms smuggling £25m 4. A London villain* Alcohol and cigarette smuggling £17.3m 5. The Daniels family Cigarette and drug smuggling £16m 6. Frederick Roberts Cigarette smuggling £8+m 7. James Nisbet Cigarette smuggling £7m 8. An Essex crook* Cigarette smuggling £6m 9. An Irish paramilitary* Alcohol and fuel smuggling £4-5m 10. Kashmir Singh Nanan People smuggling £4m * denotes can't be named for legal reasons


Underworld Rich List will be broadcast in the UK on BBC Three at 2100 BST on Monday 17 May.









Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes

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he could have all the strippers he wanted...Seriously it seems like the only way to get any "new money" nowadays is to hustle something fierce...

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How vast drug gang was smashed


_38075695_drugs.jpg Huge amounts of cocaine were seized



According to customs investigators it was an anti-drugs smuggling operation "without parallel" in British history.

With the jailing of Hilton John Van Staden, one of the leading members of the gang, full details can now be revealed.

Spanning six years and more than half a dozen countries, Operation Extend has resulted in prison sentences totalling more than 200 years being handed down at five separate trials.

A vast and complex drug smuggling network was unmasked, which is estimated to have imported £360m of cocaine into the UK.

Operation Extend

Began September 1996

Led by UK Customs and Excise officers

Visits made to Ireland, the Caribbean, USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Australia, France and S Africa

Triggered second longest trial in UK criminal history

Four specialist lawyers used for court cases


Yet the ring was only uncovered because a ship heading for the English Channel from the Caribbean went off course south of Ireland in September 1996.

The converted fishing trawler, named the Sea Mist, was subjected to a routine search when it docked at Cork and almost 600 kilos of cocaine was found on board.

Irish customs officers had stumbled on the tip of the iceberg.

The Sea Mist's crew were arrested and charged. As the scale of the organisation they were involved in emerged a huge surveillance and intelligence gathering operation was mounted.

The cocaine was destined for the gang's alleged 'Mr Big' in the UK, Brian Wright, a flamboyant businessman and a lover of gambling who is still at large.

Attention avoided

His home was an expensive villa in Spain, his residence of choice on frequent visits to the UK a rented luxury flat on the River Thames in London and his favourite day out a trip to Cheltenham races.

He was known as 'Uncle' and 'the milkman' to his fellow gang members, because in drugs trade parlance he always delivered.

But little did he know undercover officers had begun to follow his every move.

They found out that Wright's gang operated by shipping cocaine across the Atlantic in yachts and other vessels.

It was then transferred to locally-registered boats off the British coast to avoid unwanted attention when unloading.

Trusted friends

The supply network was based in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Panama and the ships were based in the Caribbean, Venezuela and South Africa.

Successful deliveries were completed between 1996 and 1999.

_38075697_wright150.jpg Brian Wright remains at large in Cyprus



All the individuals involved were relatives or trusted family friends.

They were disciplined and professional. They were aware of methods used by police and customs investigators and had access to fake passports.

But the first major blow was struck against the gang in February 1999 when, fearing key members were about to leave the UK, arrests were made and a quantity of cocaine seized.

Then, as officers prepared the resulting court cases over the next 15 months, more information emerged revealing the true scale of the operation they were investigating.

More individuals and their roles were identified, more vessels and crews were discovered.

Complex case

By the time of the first main trial in May 2000, other important members of the gang had been arrested.

Four specialist lawyers were taken on for the court cases due to the scale and complexity of the investigation.

Large numbers of witnesses and a huge array of evidence was used.

Maritime and metrological experts were brought in to assess the trips taken by the smugglers.

Seized address books with secret contact numbers and analysis of phone records revealed links between the gang members.

And hours of surveillance evidence was also used to back up the cases.

Officers delighted

Up to now 15 members of the gang - British, Brazilians and Columbians - have been convicted or have pleaded guilty to a variety of drug related offences.

What Customs and Excise believe is the most prolific and successful drugs gang ever has been smashed.

The organisation's officers are delighted with the success they have had.

The gang may only have been one part of the vast smuggling trade into Britain but it has provided an invaluable snapshot of how such a huge, sophisticated network operates.

However, the satisfaction felt by investigators is tempered by the knowledge that the alleged ringleader is currently free and living in northern Cyprus. With no extradition treaty in place with Britain, Brian Wright remains out of reach of British justice - for now.


o.gifSee also:



14 Jun 02 | England Global drugs gang 'destroyed'




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I'm "old broke".




*I turn my nose up at people that are broke now, but haven't been for generations.




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Damn , this guy must be spewing.

I mean how do you amass that kind of money while staying 'under the radar'??

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