A Harrogate drugs baron who spent more than a year on the run, has now been transferred to prison following his extradition from the Philippines.
John Halliday, from Beckwithshaw, arrived at Heathrow Airport at 2.35pm on Thursday, February 19 after a warrant was issued for his arrest in October 2013.
Halliday disappeared before he could stand trial for a £13m smuggling racket but, in his absence, he was tried and sentenced to 10 years in jail for his role in the operation.
The 33-year-old is the first ever British citizen to be extradited from the Philippines and has been convicted along with 14 other defendants.
Halliday was arrested on Friday, January 23 with West Yorkshire Police describing him as the ‘lead member’ of a ‘highly sophisticated’ organised crime group which imported and supplied synthetically produced Class B drugs on a major scale.
Det Insp Neil Hollis, of West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Division, said: “Halliday is a dangerous convicted criminal and we are delighted that he has finally been arrested and is in the custody of the authorities in the Philippines,
“Halliday clearly thought he could evade justice when he fled to the Philippines back in September 2013 but this extradition should demonstrate that we will do everything in our power to ensure that convicted criminals serve their time - no matter where they flee.
“Halliday was the ringleader of a sophisticated criminal operation which saw Class B drugs with an estimated street value of £14m smuggled in to the country from China and India via Greece and Germany.
“This has been a joint operation with the National Crime Agency, the CPS and the Foreign Office but it has been led by our officers who were determined not to let Halliday slip through the net.”
His arrest followed a long and complex operation which resulted in a raid on business premises in the Hunslet area of Leeds, in October 2011 and the recovery of 10 kilos of drugs with a street value of £250,000.
The operation, say police, was on an industrial scale.
However, detectives soon became aware that Halliday had absconded to the Philippines, before the start of his trial, and a request for his arrest was then submitted.
It took police 10 months to track Halliday down in the country and he was then taken in for questioning before he returned to the UK where he will begin his sentence of 10 years in jail.