7 December 2018
A fugitive who was tracked down to Spain following an operation involving the National Crime Agency, Metropolitan Police and Spanish law enforcement has been jailed for nine years by a UK judge.
Jamie Acourt, 42, of no fixed abode, was arrested by armed officers as he left a gym in Barcelona in May this year (below right).
His arrest followed an international intelligence-led operation which saw the NCA working with the Met and Spanish partners to track him down.
Acourt was wanted following an investigation by the Met’s Organised Crime Command into a network of drug traffickers transporting cannabis by road and supplying to dealers from their stronghold in Eltham, south-east London.
In February 2016 detectives moved in, seizing 100 kilos of cannabis and £40,000 in cash duriong raids in Northumbria and south-east London. Five men were subsequently convicted and sentenced for their part in the conspiracy, in February 2017.
However, Acourt had fled the UK before the arrests took place. He was tracked down to Barcelona and arrested under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). At the time of his arrest he was living with another British fugitive, Michael Lloyd, 31, from east London.
Lloyd, who was wanted by the NCA for conspiring to import class A drugs, would also later be arrested, returned to the UK and jailed for more than seven years.
Acourt initially denied the charges against him, but changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial, at Kingston Crown Court, on 6 December.
The following day he was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The National Crime Agency’s Regional Head of International Operations, Steve Reynolds, said:
“Jamie Acourt was tracked down to Barcelona following an intensive intelligence-led search operation involving the NCA, Metropolitan Police and our law enforcement partners in Spain. I’m delighted that today he has been brought to justice.
“His conviction and sentencing sends out a message that we are relentless in our pursuit of wanted fugitives, we have the international reach to track you down, and no matter where you go you will never be able to stop looking over your shoulder.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bedford of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, said:
"Today’s conviction is the culmination of several years’ of complex investigation by Met detectives. Diligent policing work has enabled the team to build a case which has disbanded a drugs network valued around £4 million. Their tenacity has ensured that six members of the drugs network have now faced justice.
“The support provided to our officers by the NCA and the Spanish authorities was invaluable in locating Acourt and extraditing him to the UK and is a great demonstration of how we work with our international partners across international borders to fight crime.”