Ostrich conman Martin Evans still on run after a year

Martin Evans
Image caption Conman, drug dealer and money launderer Martin Evans failed to return to prison in August 2011 after he was let out for a weekend in Swansea

The worldwide search for a conman, drug dealer and money launderer who netted an estimated £37m is continuing a year after he asbsconded from jail.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) is now part of the hunt for Martin Evans, from Swansea.

Evans was on the run in Holland and Spain before he was jailed for 21 years in 2006 for drugs supply and fraud.

Scams included swindling 87 investors of £900,000 over an ostrich farm venture.

He failed to return to Erlestoke jail in Wiltshire in August last year after being released on a weekend licence to an address in Swansea.

Police said at the time that Evans, 50, is not dangerous but they wanted to find him "swiftly".

Image caption He turned to the ostrich farm scam after his successful double glazing firm ran into trouble

His trial at Swansea Crown Court heard that Evans, from Pontarddulais, had turned to fraud when the successful double glazing firm he owned in Port Talbot ran into trouble.

The ostrich farm fraud in Swansea netted him nearly £900,000 by promising investors a 70% return on their money, the court heard.

But days before he was due to stand trial for that con, he went on the run.

Operating from Spain and Holland, he masterminded a drugs and money laundering operation, shipping at least £3m of ecstasy and cocaine into Britain.

He was brought back to the UK following his arrest in the US in November 2001, after he tried to enter the country on a false passport.

Evans was initially sentenced to 24 years in jail, but this was reduced to 21 years three months on appeal.

A separate sentence of eight years was added after he failed to comply with a £4.5m confiscation order, which the court heard would "extinguish" his criminal earnings.

The jury was told an investigation had identified Evans owned a property in Swansea, a £2m villa in Marbella and had bank accounts in Latvia, Antigua, Switzerland, Dominica as well as the UK.

A spokeswoman of Soca confirmed the agency was now involved in the hunt for Evans.

She said: "We are using our national and international reach as part of that investigation."

'Left the country'

Soca said anyone with any information in relation Evans or who believe they may have seen him is asked to contact police immediately.

Det Chief Insp Simon Davies, of South Wales Police, said officers were still on Evans's trail.

He said: "Whilst he has links in Swansea, he may well have travelled further afield and left the country, and we continue to work with Soca in our efforts to trace him."

People have also been asked to call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously.

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