Drugs boss ‘beaten and forced to brush teeth with soap’ in Dubai prison – fr

Drugs boss ‘beaten and forced to brush teeth with soap’ in Dubai prison – fr

A major supplier of cocaine and weapons who fled overseas as police prepared to arrest him was regularly beaten in a Dubai prison and forced to brush his teeth with soap.
Leon Cullen used a fake passport to escape in 2018 as detectives closed the net around his organized crime group he clashed with his brother Anthony.

The Warrington siblings have sold high purity cocaine in Liverpool and other towns in the North West and Wales, and have had relationships with associates in Merseyside.

But in an attempt to evade justice, which led to his brother being sentenced to 27 years in 2019, Leon managed to leave the UK and stay low for two years.

He was rumored to have spent time in Spain and Thailand, but was eventually caught in hiding in Dubai, where he was arrested on January 3, 2020, along with senior law enforcement officials. , the National Crime Agency, on its tail.

Today his lawyer Oliver Cook revealed some of the conditions his client experienced in the United Arab Emirates after being detained at gunpoint.

Drug and gun dealer Leon Cullen

This included being “severely beaten while a hood was placed over his head.”

Mr Cook added: “He was left for days in a dark room with a hood over his head.

“He was held in a cell with 50 other inmates. “

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Liverpool Crown Court learned how “Cullen’s head was shaved, he was forced to wear dresses and sandals, he was regularly beaten by guards.

“He brushed his teeth with soap.

“He had attempted to extradite him to the UK for some time after being arrested in Dubai.

Police photos of Anthony and Leon Cullen

“I know that the consulate had been contacted several times.

“When he was extradited he was tied up and placed in the back of a car and handed over to UK authorities.

“There is absolutely no criticism of the way the British authorities have acted.

“The court may have thought he brought his forcible confinement on himself by leaving the jurisdiction when he did.

“But no one should be treated the way they have been treated, no matter what criminal offense they have committed. “

Cullen was jailed today for 22 years and six months for confronting a massive gun and cocaine ring that saw an alarming arsenal of weapons discovered in a house on Rylands Drive in Warrington.

A cache of guns seized from a house on Rylands Drive, Warrington, in connection with an investigation into a major drug and gun gang led by Anthony and Leon Cullen

This included a working AK series rifle, pump shotgun, automatic pistols and revolvers, and a silencer mounted on one of the automatic handguns.

Judge Gary Woodhall told Cullen, of Orford, that he was not imposing a separate penalty for him on the run for two years.

But, in response to Mr Cook claiming that his client had undergone hardship in a Dubai prison which should be taken into account, the judge replied: “I keep in mind the harsh regime under which you were held in the Emirates. United Arabs.

“Although some would say you just have to blame yourself for having fled there to escape justice in this country. “

A serious crime prevention order is being sought by police against Cullen and a separate proceeds of crime claim is currently underway in an attempt to recoup some of his ill-gotten gains.

When informed, Cullen, via a Manchester Prison video link, told the judge: ‘No problem, Your Honor. “

Drugs Seized from the Cullen Brothers
Drugs Seized from the Cullen Brothers

Mr. Cook said his client “intended to improve in detention and upon release to become a productive member of society.”

But a judge told Cullen there was “little personal mitigation” on his behalf.

Leon was responsible for supplying very high purity cocaine, around 50kg in total, and used the weapon stash to bolster the gang’s reputation, often intimidating clients or associates who owned it, as well as the money. of his brother.

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The Liverpool Crown Court learned how Leon, while working at Anthony’s level, had a different role and was in contact with figures from the gangs higher in the hierarchy who supplied the cocaine.

“You had a close connection to the original source,” Justice Woodhall said.

Cullen, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply firearms, conspiracy to possess ammunition and conspiracy to supply cocaine, was sentenced to ten and a half years for supplying cocaine and 12 years for the possession and transfer of firearms.

Vehicles were used to transport the drugs, including a car that had a secret skin, which was controlled by a device connected to the cigarette lighter.

A selfie-type photo of Leon Cullen that appeared on social media
A selfie-type photo of Leon Cullen that appeared on social media

While Leon and his brother Anthony were from Warrington, they had important ties to Liverpool criminals including Lee Stoba, a drug boss who ran his own illegal business while behind bars at HMP Altcourse in Fazakerley.

One of the Cullen pistols, a 9mm autoloading pistol, was previously used in a shootout at a Rose Avenue home, Bootle, when a bullet was fired into the curtain room where the occupant was present , August 20, 2015.

Judge Gary Woodhall told him: “It is perfectly clear to me that those further down the chain of command performing day-to-day activities either had goods provided for them or their rent paid. “

One conspirator boasted that he would earn £ 10,000 every three months.

Judge Woodhall added: “There was a clear reporting structure in the group.

“You only employed those who proved to be trustworthy.

“Your gang used threats and real intimidation.

“Those at the top of the conspiracy, especially you and your brother, accepted and resorted to violence and intimidation. “

A conspirator was beaten up in Sankey Valley Park after losing his trust, and the judge said, “You and your brother used your reputation around Warrington to influence those involved. “

“Even when you were in jail, after being recalled on a previous license, you were able to procure and have access to a phone – allowing you to continue to control the activities of the group.

“You were able to escape the police when they knocked to arrest those involved.

“You got a fake passport which allowed you to flee the country and remain free for two years. “

The firearms transport found at Warrington was the largest firearms seizure in Cheshire Police history.

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When the gang was sentenced in court in 2019, they were sentenced to prison terms totaling 185 years.

Leon, who had previously been sentenced to just over nine years in jail in 2015 for cocaine trafficking, was licensed when he became involved in the most recent drug and gun offenses. fire.


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