British fugitive Richard Wakeling, wanted on narcotics trafficking charges, was arrested in Bangkok on Friday. The National Crime Agency of the UK requested cooperation from Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) in the arrest of the man from Brentwood, Essex.
The 54 year old Wakeling had been sentenced to 11 years in prison for attempted amphetamine smuggling of product worth about 8 million British pounds into the UK from Italy in 2016. Border Force colleagues stopped a truck containing the drugs at the Channel Tunnel train on April 9, 2016. The importation was set up by Wakeling leading to authorities seeking his arrest.
He fled the UK the day before his trial in 2018 and was put on the National Crime Agency’s Most Wanted list.
CIB police discovered he was living in Hua Hin after years of searching for the fugitive. The CIB monitored his movements and reported to the Office of the Attorney-General to start the extradition process. An arrest warrant for Wakeling was issued by the Criminal Court on January 31.
The CIB decided to make the arrest when Wakeling, who has a prosthetic lower right leg, travelled to Bangkok to visit a friend. He was apprehended by Crime Suppression Division police while collecting his car from a garage.
At the time of arrest, Wakeling had a passport with another identity. He remains in custody and extradition proceedings are underway.
The NCA thanked the Royal Thai Police and the Attorney General’s office for their efforts in helping to identify and arrest Wakeling. Jacque Beer, NCA regional head of investigations, said the arrest was the result of the NCA conducting enquiries around the world to capture Wakeling.
“Wakeling’s arrest was the culmination of the NCA conducting enquiries around the world to capture him. Wakeling had links to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Spain and Thailand. We pursued these connections and worked with partners from all those countries to help build the intelligence picture around him. We have been supported by the public who responded to the media and Crimewatch appeals to provide intelligence all of which has ultimately led to his capture.”
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