Britain’s most wanted fugitive, who eluded authorities for two years, has been sentenced to over 19 years in prison for drug and firearm supply in Cheshire after being apprehended in Marbella

Dean Garforth: A Criminal Mastermind’s Capture and Conviction

Dean Garforth, a notorious criminal operating at the pinnacle of a criminal network, faced justice after eluding authorities for two years.

Using the alias ‘Slickcliff’ on the EncroChat communications network, Garforth was exposed for orchestrating the supply of substantial amounts of Class A and Class B drugs.

The Arrest in Spain

After successfully evading authorities by seeking refuge in Spain’s Costa del Sol, Garforth’s attempt to flee on an electric bike, dressed casually in shorts and a T-shirt, led to his arrest.

His arrest followed two years of eluding law enforcement since the cracking of the EncroChat network, a tool widely used by organized crime groups.

Charges and Extradition

Garforth, 31, faced charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply cannabis, and conspiracy to supply weapons and ammunition.

Spanish police reported that during his apprehension, Garforth injured two officers in a failed attempt to resist arrest.

Following his extradition to the UK, he was charged and later pleaded guilty to these severe offenses.

Operational Details and Investigation

The investigation into Garforth’s criminal activities began in 2020, with detectives monitoring messages sent under the ‘Slickcliff’ handle on EncroChat.

These messages revealed discussions related to multiple deliveries of cocaine, cannabis, firearms, including semi-automatic assault rifles and pistols, and ammunition in the north-west of England.

Most Wanted Campaign and Arrest

Garforth’s evasion came to an end in January 2022 when he was featured in a Most Wanted campaign by the National Crime Agency and Crimestoppers.

On October 24, 2022, he was arrested in Marbella during a pre-planned operation while riding an e-bike.

Garforth attempted to resist arrest by colliding with officers, resulting in his apprehension.

Legal Consequences and Police Statements

Dean Garforth, formerly of Widnes, faced the consequences of his criminal activities when sentenced to 19 years and six months at Chester Crown Court.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Henderson expressed satisfaction in tracing Garforth, highlighting the significance of cracking the once-untouchable EncroChat network in dismantling organized crime groups.

Henderson emphasized the thorough and complex nature of the investigation, involving multiple agencies, and celebrated the successful extradition that finally placed Garforth behind bars.

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