Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drug Gang's Mr Big Was 'No Escobar'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drug Gang's Mr Big Was 'No Escobar'

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter

ACOCAINE gang Mr Big described as "no Pablo Escobar" has finally been brought to justice after skipping bail for more than a year.

Leslie Moulden was the head honcho of a gang involved in trafficking millions of pounds of high purity drugs into Tyneside.

The 59-year-old grandfather was still on licence having been released from a 16-year jail term imposed for conspiracy to supply MDMA in 2003.

But that didn't stop him heading up a lucrative underworld operation to flood the North East with cocaine in conjunction with a gangster from Liverpool he met in prison.

When police moved in, Moulden, of Dilston Grange, Wallsend, was caught red-handed with 4 kilos of 86% pure cocaine, worth up to PS2m.

Prosecutors say there were numerous trips between the two cities and the value of the narcotics would have been many millions of pounds.

After being bailed to appear in court, he went on the run and evaded police for 14 months before being traced to Leeds.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Moulden benefited to the tune of PS1,247,475.82p but only has to pay PS23,633.92p under the Proceeds of Crime Act, as that is what he has in available assets.

Four of Moulden's trusted deputies were locked up last year for a total of 38 years and now he has been sentenced to 16 years behind bars.

Judge Stephen Earl told him: "The supply of class A drugs is the scourge of the modern world.

"It sets many people on to a life of misery for themselves and those around them and it costs this country exceedingly large sums of money to address." Moulden was due to appear in court in July 2017 accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine but failed to attend and absconded, along with Liverpool man John Mullaly, who remains at large. …

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