A FORMER detective has told how a dramatic car chase led to the downfall of drugs kingpin Brian 'The Milkman' Wright, who was released from prison this month just 15 years into a 30-year sentence.
Former Met Police DCI Dave McKelvey was doing surveillance for the South Eastern Regional Crime Squad on Turkish suspected heroin dealers when key associates of Wrights (pictured above) turned up to a meet with them.
HMRC was investigating the large drugs importations by Wright's crime gang believed to have smuggled around £1billion of cocaine from Colombia into Britain,
while the regional crime squad focused was involved in a number of operations on the linked huge scale money laundering.
Mr McKelvey's team was asked to help with another surveillance on the Turkish gang, and ended up tailing them for several weeks.
On one occasion they saw Wright's associates Kenneth Regan, 66, and Kevin Hanley, 57, pick up heroin from the Turkish gang in Chalk Farm, north London.
He said: "We were asked to cover this job and ended up being on it for three to four weeks. We were watching these Turkish heroin dealers, then Kenneth Regan, who we were watching on a different job, turned up in a Merc. It was just swapped boot to boot."
SICK: Killer Kenneth Regan
The car McKelvey was in tailed Regan, but he drove off, at one stage mounting a pavement and knocking over a plain clothes female police officer.
Mr McKelvey said: "We rammed him and he ended up crashing and going through the windscreen. It was the best car chase I was ever involved in."
Regan, whose surname was Avery before he changed it by Deed Poll, was found in possession of 30 kilos of heroin taken from the Turks.
He cracked and turned super grass, giving evidence against Wright and other key criminals in the gang.
Before Wright could be arrested, he went on the run to Cyprus, but several associates, including his son Brian Wright junior were jailed.
At the Old Bailey trial, where he gave evidence against them in 1998, Regan got just six years instead of 25 and only served four.
Upon his release, Regan went on to murder five members of the same family during a plan to take over their business, and is now serving a whole life tariff prison sentence since July 2005.
Within a year of his release, together with William Horncy, 65, who had had given evidence against in the drugs case, he killed Millionaire Amarjit Chohan, his 25-year-old wife Nancy, their two young sons, Devinder and Ravinder, and Mrs Chohan's mother, Charanjit Kaur, 51.
KILLED: Amarjit Chohan, wife Nancy, and one of the children
They were all strangled or suffocated and the two boy's bodies were never found.
Regan was jailed for the murders the same year that Wright resurfaced and was arrested near Malaga in Spain in 2005.
After two years on remand Wright was jailed for 30 years at Woolwich Crown Court and he expected to die in prison.
But, now aged 73, he was released from prison on April 14.
He was called The Milkman as he was known for always being able "to deliver" the drugs.
DRAMATIC: Dave McKelvey arrested Regan after he smashed through his windscreen (TM-Eye)
Mr McKelvey and his team had monitored Wright's gang converting hundreds of thousands of pounds into Swiss francs at West End bureau de changes.
He said: "Wright was an absolutely prolific drugs importer working directly with Colombian drug cartels. He won't stop. I have no doubt that he will reoffend. He still has access to vast profits never recovered by police or HMRC.
"They never got anywhere near his money. They were changing up half a million to a million pounds a day over many weeks and that is just what we witnessed."
"It is ridiculous for the courts to say you are going to prison for 30 years and then they come out after 15. For serious offences like this it is time that criminals served the full sentence they receive and all their assets seized.”
RELEASE: Brian Wright is now facing deportation to Ireland
Wright is now being deported by the Home Office back to his native Ireland.
Wright, one of nine children, moved to England aged 12, growing up in Kilburn, north London.
His criminal prospered in the 1990s when he dealt directly with Colombian cartels.
In 1998 his gang is thought to have imported almost two tonnes of cocaine brought into the country on yachts.
HMRC seized a tonne of cannabis on board one yacht during the probe.
A heavy gambler, Wright bribed jockeys to rig horse races which he then placed £50,000 or more bets on to clean up the money.
It is thought he could have built up around £600million of ill gotten gains, but was forced to pay back just £2.3million through proceeds of crime action.
Frank Matthews is the online pseudonym of a former Met Police DS also involved in investigations into Wright commented about his release on Linkedin: "The recovery of assets is woefully inadequate. No Government funded agency can match the opposition.
"Having targeted him myself I can say Brian Wright was one of the main players and from recollection he still has the money."
He told Essex News and Investigations that Wright's syndicate was one of several also getting all types of drugs from notorious Dutch supplier Henk Rommy in the 1990s.
He said he had informers who regularly picked up hundreds of thousands of pounds on behalf of Wright.
He said: "He personally handed it to sources and I would sometimes see it.
"They were picking up hundreds of thousands from him on a regular basis.
"His consignments always seemed to get through indicating that he was being protected.
"When I took issue with this his syndicate took a hit of one tonne of cannabis which must have been the sweepings off the floor, very poor quality and two expendable muppets were nicked with the consignment, pleaded guilty and said nothing."
There has been much speculation that Wright was released early.
RELEASE: Cameron Brown QC said Wright was not technically let out early (Seven Oaks Council)
However, Cameron Brown QC said: "If Mr Wright has been in prison since 2005 he would in all likelihood have been eligible for release in 2020, having served half his sentence. On the face of it he has not been released ‘early'. He has not, however, completed his sentence. "That is because save for some exceptions, most prisoners who are serving fixed (‘determinative’) terms of imprisonment are released after serving half their custodial sentence, to usually serve the remainder of their prison sentence ‘on licence' in the community.
"Sentences where this may not occur include unfixed term (‘indeterminate’) sentences. This includes murder, where an individual usually serves a ‘minimum term’ and then is usually eligible for parole - who will then consider whether the prisoner will be released on licence if detaining them is no longer necessary for the protection of the public - it is not automatic."
Hanley was jailed for 15 years in 2001, after Regan gave evidence, and released in 2010.
He went straight back into drug importation and was jailed again in 2014 for 17 years.