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Britain’s fugitive drug baron captured in South Africa

Published on 03/08/2014

Police in South Africa have arrested a British fugitive drugs dealer and convicted fraudster who has been on the run for three years, police announced Sunday.

Martin Evans, 52, from Swansea in Wales, was captured Saturday in Johannesburg.

He will appear in a Pretoria court on Monday for a procedural extradition hearing, police spokesman Solomon Makgale said in a statement.

South African police’s National Crime Intelligence Unit and Interpol officers on Saturday night “arrested one of the United Kingdom’s most wanted fugitives,” said Makgale.

A once-successful businessman, Evans was serving a 21-year jail term for drugs smuggling when in 2011 he failed to return to prison after release on a five-day leave.

He was found Saturday night at a secure, concrete-walled and gated suburban housing estate in Johannesburg’s Midrand suburb.

He had been staying with a female compatriot believed to be a Cypriot, and he was using a fake Cyprus passport, according to Makgale.

Police could not specify when Evans entered South Africa, saying police were still investigating.

“This arrest shows the NCA and its partners will pursue fugitives wherever they are in the world,” said Hank Cole of Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) in the statement.

“They can run but they can’t hide,” he said.

In the joint statement with the police, the British High Commissioner to Pretoria, Judith Macgregor, hailed the arrest as “testimony to the close working relationship between the UK and South Africa on security issues”.