UK 'crime boss' extradited from criminal playground Dubai to face firearms and drug supply charges


THE suspected head of an organised crime group supplying firearms and drugs has been extradited to the UK from new criminals' bolthole Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Leon Cullen, 33, (pictured above) one of Cheshire Constabulary’s most wanted fugitives, was arrested in Dubai on Friday January 3 nearly two years after he left the UK on January 10 2018. He was brought back to the UK by officers from the National Extradition Unit on Friday. Yesterday, (Saturday 20 February) he appeared at Liverpool Magistrates Court in connection with a number of offences including conspiracies to supply firearms, ammunition and class A drugs. He has been remanded in custody until his next appearance at Liverpool Crown Court in March. Assistant Chief Constable Matt Burton, from Cheshire Constabulary, said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the UAE authorities, and all those involved, for their hard work and commitment to bring Cullen back to the UK.” The extradition was the result of a joint operation carried out by Cheshire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, the National Crime Agency (NCA), the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU), Interpol and police authorities in the UAE, assisted by the CPS to secure his successful extradition to the UK.

Deputy Director Tom Dowdall, head of NCA International, said: “Leon Cullen believed he could evade capture by fleeing to Dubai. However, working with our partners in the UK and the United Arab Emirates, we were able to locate and apprehend him so he could be returned to the UK. “This type of global law enforcement cooperation has never been more important to tackling serious and organised crime affecting the UK and I would like to thank the UAE authorities for all their work which led to Cullen’s arrest and extradition. “Our network of international liaison officers operate across the world and we will continue to work with our policing partners to pursue wanted individuals and ensure nowhere is a safe haven.”

In late 2019 Essex News and Investigations told how Dubai had taken over from Marbella as the new bolthole for criminals as a destination to hide in the sun, set up businesses, and launder money through properties.

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