‘CAREER CRIMINAL’ Paul Monk, 56 was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday (March 22).
Monk, formerly of Romford, oversaw the importation of 997 kilograms of cocaine into the UK having evaded justice for years after fleeing overseas.
He had been wanted by the Metropolitan Police’s Organised Crime Command after fleeing the UK for Spain in December 2013, breaching his bail conditions, part of a nine-year prison sentence for importing cannabis.
Arriving in Spain, Monk made his way to Javea. But Spanish Police said he never left the villa for fear he would be shot dead by rivals or arrested, relying on friends to being him food as he ‘led the life of an authentic fugitive.’
A European Arrest Warrant was issued for him in May 2014 and the Guardia Civil captured the drugs kingpin in April the following year, filming the dramatic arrest as they raided his Javea hideout just as he was instructing workmen to lay marble tiles around his swimming pool.
It was found that Monk hadn’t left his criminal past behind – from his Javea home, Monk arranged the shipping of huge quantities of cocaine and cannabis from Europe into Britain. The high-purity cocaine was smuggled into Britain on the back of lorries from Spain in 2014 and 2015, before being diluted and sold on the streets, the Old Bailey heard.
In the raid, Detectives found accounting notes relating to the supply of 997 kilos of cocaine with a street value of £59.8million, as well as an imitation firearm and silencer, 125,000€ cash stashed in a plant pot and a fake Slovenian passport.
After being captured, he was taken back to the UK on May 7 2015, where he pleaded guilty to and was charged with supplying a kilogram of cocaine and was eventually charged for his hand in the supply operation in September 2016.
Detective Sergeant David Williams said: ‘Monk is a career criminal who showed a disregard for the laws of UK after he fled to Spain in 2013 to escape justice. He obtained false identity documents in order to evade authorities while he continued to run an international drug supply network from his home in Spain.’
‘After his arrest, expert analysis by Met detectives revealed the large scale of Monk’s drug trafficking network and of the huge sums of money he was receiving for the illegal importation of cocaine to the UK. This evidence has proved crucial in establishing the pivotal role Monk played in the drugs network.’
‘Monk has been sentenced to a lengthy period in custody and I would like to thank the Guardia Civil for their co-operation in the investigation that secured this conviction. We will continue to work together to ensure all the proceeds of Monks’ drug trafficking empire are confiscated.’
Jailing him for 18 years, Judge Anuja Dhir QC said Monk was ‘at the very highest level in the drugs word.’.
‘I am satisfied that you played a leading role in that conspiracy’, she said.