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Briton jailed for over 22 years after being extradited from UAE

Prasun Sonwalkar/London
Filed on May 27, 2021
Photo Credit: Cheshire Police

Leon Cullen, 33, was brought back to Cheshire in north-west England in February 2021

Leon Cullen, leader of a firearms-and-cocaine network who fled Britain in 2018, obtained a false passport, and used it over a two-year period before being captured on an international arrest warrant in Dubai in 2020, has now been jailed for 22 years and six months.

Cullen, 33, was extradited from the UAE and brought back to Cheshire in northwest England in February 2021.

Earlier in May, he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply firearms, conspiracy to possess ammunition, and conspiracy to supply cocaine.

The Cheshire Police said Cullen fled after detectives uncovered the criminal enterprise, he was operating alongside his twin brother Anthony, supplying cocaine and firearms to other organised crime groups across northwest England.

The brothers, the police added, would operate through the use of violence in order to intimidate and exert control towards those they believed had crossed them as well as to enforce debts.

Anthony was arrested in January 2018 along with 19 of his and Cullen’s associates. They were jailed a year later for a total of 185 years, while Anthony was given a 27-year sentence.

Detective chief inspector Mike Evans from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “Leon operated a network that was widespread and included the supply of cocaine and firearms to other organised crime groups across the North West”.

He said: “When he fled the country in 2018 a significant policing operation began that was built on information from the local community, along with other sensitive networks, that centred on uncovering the identity that he was using to travel.

He added: “Once we knew the details of the false passport that had been sought to him from his associates it was then easy to narrow him down to the UAE.

“All of this came from really good police work. Once we had the identity, he was using we were able to work with other law enforcement partners, the National Crime Agency and authorities in the UAE, to establish where he was using those details, which led us to the arrest.”

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