South West Wales

Fugitive ostrich farm fraudster Martin Evans extradited

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Media captionEvans will be monitored for the rest of his life by the National Crime Agency

A fugitive conman, drug dealer and money launderer from Swansea has been extradited to the UK from South Africa.

Martin Evans, 52, was arrested by armed police in Johannesburg in August after three years on the run.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said Evans was flown into Heathrow airport on Friday and taken to a high security prison.

His scams included swindling 87 investors out of £900,000 in an ostrich farm fraud in south Wales.

The former Young Businessman of the Year for Wales, from Pontardulais, was jailed for 21 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and fraudulent trading in 2006, but disappeared in 2011 while on weekend release from a prison in Wiltshire.

He was named by police as one of the UK's "most wanted" in 2012 and they suspected he was living a life of luxury in northern Cyprus.

Image caption Evans set up his ostrich farm after another business failed

But Evans then fled the country to South Africa, where he was tracked down and arrested on Saturday, 2 August.

Officers swooped while he was getting out of his car at a gated housing complex. The fugitive's capture followed an operation involving the NCA and Interpol, and intelligence-led surveillance operations by South African Police.

Simon Flowers, branch commander for Wales for the NCA, said Evans had been living a life of luxury in Johannesburg with a family he had had while on the run.

Officers will now investigate the life he led there, where he operated under different pseudonyms.

Mr Flowers said Evans will serve the rest of his jail sentence and be monitored for the rest of his life.

"Obviously as the National Crime Agency, with all our significant criminals we will monitor them constantly for the rest of their lives," said Mr Flowers.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Martin Evans was arrested at a gated housing complex in Johannesburg

"So for us it doesn't end here. Almost a warning to Mr Evans that we're constantly vigilant for all our top criminals."

Evans began his criminal career in the mid-1990s after his double-glazing firm in Port Talbot failed.

It was then he set up the ostrich-breeding business, which promised profits of 70% a year, but he swindled nearly £1m out of investors.

Drug dealing mastermind

He was due to stand trial in Swansea in March 2000 but jumped bail and went on the run to Spain and Holland where he masterminded a multi-million-pound drugs and money laundering operation.

He brought at least £3m worth of ecstasy and cocaine into the UK.

But in November 2001 he was caught trying to enter the US. Evans was flown to Paris and eventually extradited to UK and sentenced to 21 years for drug and money laundering offences.

In April 2006, while still serving his sentence, Evans was sentenced to a further four years for the ostrich farm scam.

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