A fugitive wanted in connection to a drug trafficking investigation handed himself in to Gibraltar police dripping wet and salty from the sea water he just swam in to reach the island. Jason Waterman turned himself in on Monday evening after learning of a National Crime Agency (NCA) Crimewatch appeal for help to find him.
Waterman was wanted because police believe him to have been around Bagby airfield, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, in October 2015 shortly after a light aircraft arrived from the Netherlands. Border Force officers recovered a briefcase containing 7 kilos of cocaine with a potential street value of £1.2m from the airfield. The aircraft pilot was arrested but later found not guilty of importation offences.
The 32-year-old is thought to have been staying in Spain while on the run from authorities. Gibraltar is part of Britain’s overseas territories and shares its northern border with Spain. When Waterman arrived at the police station, he was carrying a small bag containing wet clothing. He refused to say how he had reached Gibraltar, only that it wasn’t through the frontier.
Waterman told police he had seen the NCA’s appeal on the BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow that morning and wanted to hand himself in. Britain is now seeking his extradition under a European Arrest Warrant.
The arrest is hailed by NCA’s north east operations manager Brian Shaw as a major victory and another sign that the agency’s aggressive media campaigns are working. “To everyone else feeling the stress of being on the run I would say we are patient people, we keep the pressure on, and we never stop looking for you,” Shaw stated in a press release.
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