A criminal who went on the run for eight years over his role in a large-scale international drug trafficking plot has been jailed for 12 years.
The National Crime Agency worked relentlessly to trace Michael Paul Moogan, who was one of the UK’s most wanted men.
Moogan, 37, from Croxteth, fled in October 2013 after a raid on a cafe suspected of being a front for meetings between drug traffickers and cartels.
The Café de Ketel in Rotterdam was a business not open to the public.
It could only be entered via a security system and was strictly for known faces.
Working with the Dutch National Crime Squad, the NCA became aware of information that linked Moogan and two other British men to the venue which was the hub for Moogan’s conspiracy to bring hundreds of kilos of cocaine into the UK every month.
At the time of the raid, only one of the men, Robert Hamilton, 71, from Hale, Greater Manchester, could be found. He was jailed for eight years in 2014 after pleading guilty to drug charges.
The other man, Robert Gerard, 57, from Liverpool, handed himself in to the NCA after three years on the run claiming the pressure was too much. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and was jailed in 2017 for 14 years.
Moogan and his associates were involved in plans to import drugs from Latin America to the EU.
He had the ability to obtain as much as 500,000 Euros at a time to fund his cocaine deals from South American suppliers who would ship the Class A drug to Belgium. He did not need to pay for deals in instalments as is common in large-scale drugs supply. Instead, he could pay in lump sums via Iraqi nationals based in the UK.
Moogan told criminal contacts that he brought cocaine into the UK concealed in meat from Argentina.
Evidence also showed he had the ability to bribe port officials to help ensure his drugs were not stopped.
As well as shipping from South America, Moogan used road transport networks stretching from Bulgaria to Latvia, Spain and Belgium to facilitate the movement of cocaine to the UK.
Moogan remained in hiding until April 2021 when he was arrested by Dubai Police.
NCA officers established Moogan was using numerous false identities to avoid capture.
Dubai Police believe that after entering the UAE using a different identity, he tried to avoid CCTV in an attempt to elude detectives who used their latest capabilities to track him down.
He had a German passport, and also a driver’s licence and citizen card in the name of Michael Dier but displaying his own image.
Moogan was the 86th person arrested under Operation Captura – an NCA fugitive campaign run in conjunction with Crimestoppers.
NCA Senior Investigating Officer Ben Rutter said, “Moogan did everything he could to avoid this day but justice has finally caught up with him.
“He was a major figure in international drug dealing.
“His consignments of Class A drugs undoubtedly brought misery and real harm to the UK communities they reached.
“His long overdue jailing is the result of years of hard work by the NCA and law enforcement partners in the UK, Europe and Middle East.
“We thank the Dubai Police especially for their excellent work helping us track Moogan and ensuring his return to the UK.
“Fugitives should take note of this case – they can never rest easy. The NCA has a global reach and will never give up hunting them. “
After being extradited to the UK, he told the NCA arresting officer, “You’re not going to have any trouble from me.
“I’m tired now. Get me up to Manny and get me in Cat A. I’m done now.”
Moogan was transported to police custody in Greater Manchester.
In November last year, he appeared at Manchester Crown Court and admitted conspiring to import Class A drugs.
He returned to court today and was jailed.
Without his guilty plea and mitigation he would have been sentenced to 20 years.