Published On: Fri, Feb 20th, 2015 on 12:14 am

Ringleader of £14m drug smuggling gang back behind British bars

The main player in a multi-million pound drug-smuggling operation who was tried and sentenced in his absence is now back on British soil having been deported from the Philippines.

John Halliday Mugshot

John Halliday. Image: West Yorkshire Police.

John Halliday, 33, arrived at Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon and has been transferred to prison following the first-ever extradition of a British citizen from the Philippines.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in October 2013 after he disappeared prior to the start of the trial of him and 14 other members of an organised crime group responsible for the importation and supply of synthetically-produced Class B drugs.

The trial continued and Halliday was sentenced in his absence to 10 years imprisonment.

Detectives soon became aware that he had absconded to the Philippines and a request was submitted in early 2014 for his return.

“Halliday clearly thought he could evade justice”

He was arrested in the Manila area of the Philippines on 23 January last month and was returned to the UK to serve his sentence.

Detective Inspector Neil Hollis, of West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Division, said: “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 £14million smuggled in to the country from China and India via Greece and Germany.”

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