Ostrich farm scammer and drug dealer on the run
AN ostrich farm fraudster and drug smuggler is believed to be hiding out in Cyprus, the authorities have said.
Martin Evans, 50, of Pontarddulais, had been sentenced to 21 years behind bars for drug smuggling, but was released on a three-day licence to an address in Swansea last August.
When he failed to return to his Wiltshire prison, it prompted a major manhunt. Now Evans is one of nine wanted fugitives who the authorities think is on the Mediterranean island.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), Cyprus Police and Crimestoppers have launched a new campaign to hunt them down.
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Evans was convicted of leading an organised crime group supplying Class A drugs in the UK between 1999 and 2001. He set up a system whereby drugs were imported to the UK and sold, with the proceeds paying for more drugs.
Crimestoppers said Evans was also wanted for fraudulent trading as director of a company, Ostrich Centre Ltd, in 1995. The company received investments worth several hundred thousand pounds from the public, which Evans was found to have stolen.
Lord Ashcroft, founder and chairman of Crimestoppers, said: "While these suspected criminals will see Cyprus as a safe place to evade law enforcement, my belief is that with the help of the local public and ex-patriot community, these individuals will not be able to escape justice for much longer."
Soca deputy director Martin Molloy said fugitives hiding overseas typically remained part of the criminal world.
He added: "Soca and our partners are determined to ensure life on the run is intolerable for them, and that they are returned to face justice in the UK."
Evans is 5ft 11ins to 6ft with a stocky build, blue eyes, short brown/ greying hair, a Welsh accent and a tattoo with "ME" on his right arm.
His aliases include Paul Kelly and Anthony Hall. Stuart Taylor, chairman of the Crimestoppers Welsh committee, said: "This man has committed some very serious offences."