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Craig Allen, 50, dubbed the ‘ginger ninja’ and ‘little fella’ from Sheffield S Yorks has been sentenced to 20 years in jail after being arrested at gunpoint outside IKEA in Amsterdam last October. It is said he made over five thousand pounds a week dealing drugs and police found 3kg of cocaine, 1kg of heroin, 425,000 Euros, a cash counting machine and rubber gloves in his flat in Amsterdam.
The untouchable drugs baron ran a worldwide heroin and cocaine dealing ring from a mansion in Thailand, had convictions dating back to 1975 and thought he was above the law. The proceeds from his drugs operation provided him with a lavish lifestyle that he shared with his Thai wife and child at their luxury estate. Craig Jackson from South Yorkshire Police, who led the investigation, said: ‘Craig Allen is a sophisticated and determined drug trafficker who was directly responsible for the supply of Class A drugs onto the streets of South Yorkshire and across the UK.
‘Much of Allen’s criminality was orchestrated from Thailand and the Netherlands and was undertaken by his UK-based co-defendants in a highly organised manner.
‘He thought he was above the law, untouchable, and operating in a jurisdiction like Thailand gave him a degree of anonymity.
‘But South Yorkshire and England will be safer places with Allen behind bars, there is no doubt. David Brooke, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court where Allen pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial to conspiracy to import and supply heroin, and conspiracy to supply cocaine, said Allen was caught after five police operations in 2010 and 2011 which linked him to heroin and cocaine supply.
In total, 24kg of Class A drugs worth around £1.85million were seized at locations around South Yorkshire and from two drugs mules who flew into Liverpool from Amsterdam with drugs hidden in their bodies. Allen was caught after South Yorkshire Police linked five Class A drugs operations to him primarily through mobile phone evidence.
They discovered that in each case, Allen was at the helm, directing the delivery of drugs and exchange of cash in the UK to organised crime groups from his Thai mansion.
He used up to 20 mobile telephones to conduct his operation. In the period covered by the police operations, nearly £200,000 was wired to Thailand. Officers linked each of Allen’s co-defendants back to him.
Allens convictions date back to 1975, between then and 1988 he committed dishonesty offences and in 1991 he was one of eight who broke out of a prison bus in Sheffield while on remand for armed robbery. He was captured after four months.
In 1993 he was jailed for twelve and a half years for supplying heroin and amphetamines and again in 2001 for two years for conspiracy to supply cannabis. In 2003 he was acquitted of involvement in the murder of Sheffield music promoter Lester Davis who was shot dead at the wheel of his car.
He then fled to Spain with his wife and son to make a new start, later his wife returned to the UK, but he declined to join her due to threats made against him and decided to visit a friend in Thailand and later decided to make it home. He left Thailand in 2010 because he owed money to drug dealers, leaving his Thai wife and child behind.
Det Insp Jackson added: ‘Craig Allen was directing and controlling the supply of Class A drugs into the UK for distribution in England and Wales from the other side of the world.
‘He was Sheffield born and bred but his reputation extends far beyond Sheffield. He’s a very well-known figure.
‘We worked with Dutch colleagues to identify his whereabouts and arrest him. He certainly wasn’t expecting it. He had no idea that we were on to him at all.’
He said Allen’s arrest had been ‘a long time coming’. ‘The investigation team have worked long and hard to see Craig Allen sentenced for his extensive criminality,’ he added.
‘I wish to personally thank the team of officers involved in this complex and protracted investigation for their tenacity, professionalism and drive to produce a methodically prepared case.’ Allen and three co-defendants were jailed for a combined total of 61 years after admitting conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
O’Neil Richard Davidson, 36, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, was sentenced to eight years in prison. Steven Hudson, 43, of Sheffield, received a nine-year jail term. Selena Nickels, 45, of Sheffield, was sentenced to six years behind bars after she pleaded guilty on February 27. Leroy Grant, of Manchester, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs following a two-week trial. He was sentenced to 18 years. Brian Saunders, 48, of Sheffield, will be sentenced at a later date.