Fugitive head of smuggling group brought back from Ibiza and jailed

26 May 2017

The head of an organised crime group which smuggled drugs and cash between Ibiza and Wales has been jailed following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).Nicky STRANGE 2

Nicholas Strange, 34, (pictured top) lived on the Spanish island and sourced cocaine sold by his father Neil, 61, and associate Martyn Pagett, 31, from a travellers site in Nantyglo, South Wales.

He was today sentenced to 10 years in prison at Cardiff Crown Court after pleading guilty to two counts of supplying class A drugs and one of laundering the cash made by the group.

Neil Strange (pictured second) is already serving eight-and-a-half-years for helping him to smuggle the cash back to Ibiza.

Nicholas Strange was arrested in May 2016 by the Guardia Civil, acting on NCA intelligence, and repatriated to the UK.

NCA officer John Lewis said Strange had "kept his hands clean while his dad did the dirty work".

Pagett, from Blaina, South Wales, (pictured third) is serving an eight-year sentence for handling sales of the cocaine to crime groups across the UK.

NCA officers had discovered Strange’s role after arresting his father and Pagett in Bristol in 2014, an operation which saw them recover £125,000 in cash.

Neil STRANGE 1

Officers also found 8kg of high purity cocaine, with a value to organised crime of up to £280,000 and a potential street value of £960,000, in Pagett’s portacabin at the Cwm Crachen travellers site where he was employed as the site warden.

A further £9,000 in cash was recovered at an address linked to Neil Strange in Theale, near Reading.

The NCA  then began the two-year search that culminated in Nicholas Strange’s arrest by the Guardia Civil and his placement on remand at HMP Cardiff in June last year.

Strange’s group had been supplying, among others, Ashley Burgham, aged 28, the head of a Gwent-based organised crime group. Burgham and ten of his group were sentenced to a combined total of 54 years on 11 December 2015.

The Stranges and Pagett were also supplying Anthony Moran, a then-33-year-old from Glasgow. Moran is serving an eight-year prison sentence after British transport police officers acting on NCA intelligence stopped him on a train to Scotland shortly after a meeting with Pagett.

The Scot had with him 1kg of cocaine worth £35,000 wholesale and up to £120,000 when cut and sold. One of Nicholas Strange’s guilty pleas related to the supply of cocaine to Moran.

Martyn PAGETT 1

The total sentences for the group of four jailed after the NCA investigation - the Stranges, Pagett and Moran - was 34 years.

Mr Lewis, lead officer for the NCA, said: “Nicholas Strange was a crook who stayed in sunny Ibiza and kept his hands clean while his dad did the dirty work.

“Taking out his operation led to the imprisonment of several serious and organised criminals and the disruption of their networks. It also denied the criminal economy a lot of cash.

“We were determined to track Strange down and, thanks to our intelligence capabilities and close ties with the Guardia Civil, he is facing the full weight of justice.”

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