Wanted: David McDermott
By: Tom Duffy
An Ormskirk man accused of being a member of an organised crime gang involved in a conspiracy to supply 400 kilos of cocaine is believed to be on the run in Spain.
Ten of Britain’s most wanted fugitives who are believed to be on the run were unveiled today.
The list was published in Madrid as part of Operation Captura, a scheme to trace criminals who are thought to have fled to Spain.
The fugitives are wanted in connection with crimes including rape, indecent assault of a child and drug trafficking, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
It is the ninth appeal of its kind since Captura was launched by the NCA and Crimestoppers in 2006, and so far 65 out of 76 named suspects have been caught.
McDermott is wanted on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to blackmail.
The 41-year-old, who is originally from Ormskirk but lived in Liverpool, is believed to be a member of an organised crime gang involved in a conspiracy to supply 400 kilos of cocaine, the NCA said.
It comes after 16 holdalls containing cocaine with a street value of £71m were found hidden in a container of frozen Argentinian beef at Tilbury Docks in Essex in May 2013.
After the cocaine was seized, NCA officers watched and listened as McDermott met with members of the gang at Aintree Retail Park.
He was allegedly involved in the planning of a “violent mission” to recover the drugs, not knowing it had been seized by law enforcement, the NCA said.
The use of “physical and sexual violence” against anyone who had information was discussed, a spokesman said.
Five members of the gang have already been jailed for a total of 42 years.
Lord Ashcroft, founder of Crimestoppers, said: “Operation Captura has proved a huge success since it was launched in 2006 and the majority of individuals on our most wanted list have been captured.
“However, there are still a number of criminals who are evading arrest. We must ensure these individuals are brought to justice. We are confident that we can successfully hunt them down with support from the Spanish authorities, as well as the Spanish and UK public.”
Hank Cole, the NCA’s head of international operations, said: “Spain is not a safe haven for British fugitives. The NCA and its partners will continue to pursue these individuals relentlessly and return them to the UK to face justice.
“Sixty-five fugitives on the Captura list have been caught, along with many more fugitives linked to other operations.
“The exceptional level of collaboration and intelligence sharing with the Spanish authorities has been vital to these arrests. However, we still need the support of the public. Be our eyes and ears and tell us if you have any information on the whereabouts of our targets.”
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