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‘The first thing he wanted to do was to see his mother. He just wants peace and quiet. He is allowed to have a decent, ordinary life’
The notorious drug lord Curtis 'Cocky' Warren, who had been dubbed Britain's Pablo Escobar after he flooded the UK and Ireland with cocaine and heroin, has walked free from prison.
The 59-year-old was released from Whitemoor Jail, the maximum-security prison in Cambridgeshire after 14 years, to return to the Merseyside region where he once ran his empire.
Once reputed to be worth almost £200m, Warren is now subject to the terms of a crime prevention order which means he will face some of the most stringent bail conditions that can be imposed.
He is banned from using social media apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook and must give officers 24 hours’ notice before stepping into any car.
His finances will be scrutinised by the National Crime Agency (NCA) for five year as he is not allowed to possess more than £1,000 in cash.
Warren is banned from using cryptocurrency and must give seven days' notice if he wishes to travel to Scotland, or else face another five years in jail.
Failure to adhere to the bail conditions could land him another five years in prison.
The NCA said: “Action against serious and organised criminals doesn’t end with a conviction.”
However, a source close to Warren has been quoted as saying: “Cocky always planned on coming back to Liverpool.”
His barrister Anthony Barraclough said: “The first thing he wanted to do was to see his mother. He just wants peace and quiet. He is allowed to have a decent, ordinary life.”
Warren, who flooded the UK and Ireland with cocaine and heroin until he was nabbed in 1996 in Holland, was estimated to have made an incredible Stg£198 million (E230 million) during his criminal career.
He was locked up for the second time in 2009 after his release from prison in the Netherlands when he went straight back to drug dealing and tried to flood the island of Jersey with narcotics.
Caged for 13 years, he got a further 10 years in 2014 when he was ordered to pay back the enormous sum on a confiscation order but refused, saying he didn't have the funds.
A key man in Europe for Colombia's Cali Cartel which controlled a large portion of the world's cocaine supply, by the age of 34, Warren's drug money had built an empire that included properties in Wales, Spain and Gambia.
There was also a winery in Bulgaria, petrol stations and apartment blocks in Turkey, a yacht, a 16-room mansion in the Netherlands and more than 200 rental properties, the Liverpool Echo reported.
Warren was the subject of a Sunday World Crime World podcast in which Nicola Tallant spoke to author Peter Walsh, who wrote the bestseller 'Cocky' and Drug War: The Secret History which tracks the rise of gangland in the UK.
In his book Cocky, Walsh revealed how Warren went from petty crook to armed robber to the very top of the drugs ladder in record time, while being mentored by a shadowy underworld figure who is suspected of putting up investment funds and using him as the front man of a huge drug conspiracy.
The mixed race Toxteth native was only in his mid-20s when he moved to Amsterdam to live full time after a gang war broke out in his native Liverpool. From there, he organised the biggest importation of cocaine at the time, dealing directly with the brutal Cali cartel from Colombia.
More than 500 kilos of drugs got into the UK before the second shipment of 900 kilos was stopped as he arranged to transport it.
Warren had been placed under surveillance by Dutch police after Merseyside officers detailed him as their top target. Wire taps were placed on his phones and he was heard arranging the transport of the drugs and even bribing the most senior police officer ever to be caught up in a corruption probe.
After he was jailed in the Netherlands, UK police prosecuted Detective Chief Superintendent Elmore Davies, who was jailed for five years for his role in a plot to undermine the justice system.
In prison Warren killed a fellow inmate and on his release in 2007 went straight back into the game, getting nabbed within weeks as he plotted to flood Jersey with cannabis.
In 2009 he was given 13 years for the plot to import drugs and in 2014 he got 10 years for failing to pay up on the confiscation order.
He was also caught having sex with a female officer, Stephanie Smithwhite, when he was jailed near Durham in HMP Frankland prison.
The officer pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office but was said to be devastated that her relationship with Warren had to come to an end after they were caught. A court heard she had cut a hole in the crotch of her prison officer's uniform to facilitate sex with Warren.