A drugs trafficker who went on the run for nearly five years was yesterday (Thursday, 26 May) jailed for eight-and-a-half years at Liverpool Crown Court.
Scott Hughes, 35, originally from the Croxteth area, was arrested in February 2011 in Belgium and featured in the Operation Captura most wanted fugitives campaign.
Hughes was captured following a joint operation between the National Crime Agency, Belgian Federal Police and Merseyside Police. He was travelling from Dubai to Belgium using a fraudulent passport, and was stopped upon arrival at Brussels Airport before being extradited to the United Kingdom.
Hughes had been wanted by Merseyside Police for being a senior member of a Liverpool-based organised crime group involved in the large-scale supply of Class A drugs. He disappeared following the execution of a search warrant at his home in May 2011 when officers recovered £212,705 in cash, a cash counting machine and watches valued at £8,000. He Hughes, who wasn’t present at his £1,500 a month rented barn conversion in Halewood when the warrant was executed, fled the country soon after.
Detective Superintendent Lee Turner, from Merseyside Police’s Matrix Serious Organised Crime team, said: “Merseyside Police is committed to targeting those who are involved in serious and organised crime. The clear message today is that if you are involved in the supply of illegal drugs, you will be arrested and put before the courts. No matter how far you travel or how long you evade capture for, we will not stop looking and will be relentless in our efforts to bring criminals to justice.
“I hope this sentence serves as a deterrent to anyone thinking of becoming involved in the supply of drugs.
“Merseyside Police is grateful for the assistance of our colleagues in the National Crime Agency and Belgian Federal Police in bringing Hughes back into custody. The force works very closely with the NCA’s Fugitives Unit, as well as law enforcement agencies throughout Europe, to arrest people suspected of being involved in criminality. We will continue to work together to bring offenders to justice and use all the resources and legislation at our disposal to do so.”
Dave Allen, Head of the NCA’s International Crime Bureau, said: “Hughes was one of the substantial players in a crime group responsible for distributing large amounts of drugs across Merseyside. He had been on the run since 2011 and believed he could evade capture by moving from country to country using a fraudulent passport, but we were able to track him down and arrest him with the help of the Belgian authorities.”
Anyone with information on the supply of drugs in Merseyside can contact MSOC Officers on 0800 230 0600 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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