Fugitive 'Mr Big' North East drug baron arrested by police in Thailand

Koh Samui in Thailand
Koh Samui in Thailand

A wanted British drug baron has been captured overseas after being found holed up on a Thai paradise island.

Jonathon Moorby, 47, spent years on the run from a jail sentence for trafficking cocaine and amphetamines in the UK.

He was snared on the palm-lined island of Koh Samui, southern Thailand, in a joint operation between Thailand's Narcotics Suppression Bureau and Interpol.

The fugitive trafficker was sentenced in absentia at Teesside Crown Court in December 2014 to 15 years for possession with intent to supply controlled class A and class B drugs, a court official said.

In July 2016, he was ordered to repay £575,860 of his ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Thai Police said on Tuesday that Moorby will be charged for holding a fake passport and illegally entering the country before he is deported to Britain.

Police were led to the drug dealer's hideout by tracking his son, who had come to visit his father, police major general Soontorn Chalermkiat said.

Moorby is alleged to have bought a fake Belgian passport on the Thai black market for a million baht (£22,000).

Detective Sergeant John Fitzpatrick, of Cleveland Police, said: "Following an ongoing and extensive Cleveland Police-led operation we can confirm that a 47-year-old British national has been arrested in Thailand on suspicion of a number of offences.

"We are working closely with overseas authorities and our inquiries will continue."