Leeds & West Yorkshire

Fugitive Harrogate drugs baron caught in Philippines

John Halliday Image copyright West Yorkshrie Police
Image caption John Halliday was jailed for 10 years in 2013

A drug dealer who fled the UK before he was due to stand trial for heading up a £13m smuggling racket has been arrested in the Philippines.

John Halliday, formerly of Harrogate, was the ringleader of an organised crime group responsible for importing hundreds of kilos of Class B drugs.

He was jailed in his absence for 10 years in December 2013 after skipping bail ahead of his trial.

West Yorkshire Police said proceedings to bring him back to the UK had begun.

Det Insp Neil Hollis 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.

'Slip through the net'

"It has taken a lot of hard work but we are now a step closer to bringing him back to the UK to serve his prison sentence."

Halliday was first arrested in 2011 following a raid on business premises in the Hunslet area of Leeds, in October 2011 and the recovery of 10kgs (22.1lbs) of drugs with a street value of £250,000.

He was convicted along with 14 other defendants following the largest investigation conducted by West Yorkshire Police into the importation and supply of synthetic drugs.

He was caught following a joint operation with police, the National Crime Agency, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Foreign Office, who were "determined not to let Halliday slip through the net," Det Insp Hollis said.

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