Drug dealer loses 2 million

Convicted drug smuggler Brian Brendon Wright was today ordered to pay a confiscation order of 2,311,371 following a hearing at Woolwich Crown Court. Wright, 61, who headed an international drugs smuggling gang, was jailed for 30 years in April 2007 having been found guilty of conspiracy to evade prohibition on the importation of a controlled drug and the conspiracy to supply drugs. His Honour Judge Peter Moss today told Wright that he would have to serve a consecutive 10 years default sentence if the money was not paid in 12 months.

Robert Alder, Head of Restraint & Confiscation Unit, HM Revenue & Customs, Criminal Investigation Division, said:

"The size of this Confiscation Order reflects Brian Brendon Wright's role at the very top of a global organised crime network that lived off the misery of the countless victims of the illegal drug trade.

"Confiscation Orders like this ensure that career criminals such as Wright are denied the opportunity to profit from their crimes."

Wright, originally from the Republic of Ireland, lived a luxurious lifestyle. He portrayed himself as a wealthy entrepreneur and professional gambler with an avid interest in the horseracing world. His friends and associates included many noted figures from the sports and entertainment industries. However, in reality he was the mastermind behind several multi-million pound cocaine shipments into the UK.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Moss told him:

"You were a master criminal, manipulative, influential and powerful." He added: "I accept that you will be a very much older man when you are entitled to be released."

The investigation that led to 20 convictions worldwide with jail sentences totalling over 250 years, followed an unsuccessful smuggling attempt in September 1996 using a vessel named the Sea Mist which was discovered carrying 599kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of 80 million. Over the next two years four further drug shipments were smuggled ashore.

In February 1999, officers seized 472kg of cocaine from a lock-up garage in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and from a farm in Laleham in Surrey.

Following the arrest of several members of his gang, Wright, fled to northern Cyprus in 1999. He was eventually discovered in hiding in Spain in 2005 and extradited to the UK.

The case was prosecuted on behalf of HMRC by The Revenue & Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) which was created by Royal Assent on 07 April 2005 and is an independent prosecuting authority reporting directly to the Attorney General.

Notes for editors

A press notice was issued at the conclusion of the trial of Brendan Brian Wight on Monday, 2 April 2007. A copy of the press release can be viewed via the following link: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.asp?ReleaseID=276026&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromSearch=True

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

Website http://www.hmrc.gov.uk

Published on: 2008-04-24

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