A crime boss from the UK has been snared by cops in Thailand after spending five years on the run.
Richard Wakeling, 55, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (Friday, June 2) where was sentenced to 11 years in the cage following his extradition back to the UK the previous day.
Wakeling, of Brentwood, Essex, had been convicted in his absence after fleeing the country on the eve of his trial in 2018.
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In 2016 the trafficker, who has a prosthetic lower right leg, attempted to smuggle £8million of amphetamine suspended in liquid into the UK in a truck.
The vehicle had been carrying furniture from Italy but was stopped by Border Force, leading The National Crime Agency to launch an investigation.
Those investigations discovered phone evidence that found the driver was told to collect the drugs in Ternat, Belgium.
They were found in plastic drums by Border Force officers with the entire importation understood to have been set up by Wakeling.
He, along with two other offenders in the UK, was found to have been in contact with suppliers from the Netherlands to arrange the import, which is understood to have been the seventh of its kind.
In the moments before he was due to stand trial though, Wakeling vanished.
Five years on, he was picked up by the Royal Thai Police at a garage in the country’s capital Bangkok after he’d gone to get his car repaired.
On his person, a passport with a different identity was found.
Jacque Beer, NCA regional head of investigations said: “Richard Wakeling thought he could avoid facing justice by leaving the UK. But the hard work of NCA officers – both here in the UK and overseas – and that of our international partners, has put him behind bars for a lengthy prison sentence.
“This case highlights the NCA’s global reach, and that we will do everything we can to ensure those who commit serious and organised crime are held accountable for their actions, no matter how long it takes or how far they flee."
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