National Crime Agency
Dutch drug smuggler ordered to hand over £400,000
A Dutch pilot who smuggled millions of pounds-worth of cocaine into the UK in a light aircraft has been ordered to pay more than £400,000 at a confiscation hearing.
John Buwalda, 54, was jailed for 23 years in December 2016 following an investigation by the joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).
Six months previously, Buwalda flew a private plane into Rochester Airfield carrying suitcases packed with 22kg of class A drugs with a street value of £2.4 million.
He was arrested at the adjacent Holiday Inn Hotel after handing the cocaine over to a courier, Jan Polak, 63, from Poland.
NCA financial investigators identified that at the time of his arrest, Buwalda was the joint proprietor of 16 properties in the Netherlands and owned two private aircrafts.
On Friday 21 September at the Old Bailey, Buwalda was ordered to hand over £422, 268.81 (€470,092) based on an assessment of his available assets.
The aircraft he used to import the drugs has also been seized. Buwalda sold his second plane in 2016 to help pay his legal fees.
If he does not pay the sum of money within three months, he will be sentenced to a further four years in prison and still be liable for the money.
Matt McMillan from the Organised Crime Partnership said: “Orders like this are a key tool in allowing us to pursue illegally-obtained assets and preventing convicted criminals from funding luxury lifestyles on their release.
“If Buwalda pays, he’ll get out of prison when he expected to. If not, he’ll stay in there for four more years and still have to settle this bill at the end.”
Latest News from
National Crime Agency
Op Stovewood: Two more men arrested as part of NCA investigation11/02/2019 13:15:00
Two men aged 37 and 34 from Masborough, Rotherham were arrested on Tuesday 5 February on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, as part of ongoing investigations under the NCA’s Operation Stovewood.
Four arrests made over Hailsham ‘gun factory’08/02/2019 16:15:00
The National Crime Agency, supported by Sussex Police, yesterday arrested four people as part of an NCA investigation into an alleged gun factory found in East Sussex in August 2018.
Son of Moldova’s ex-PM renting £1000 per day Knightsbridge apartment forced to hand over nearly half a million pounds08/02/2019 14:15:00
A London student who paid £390,000 up front in rent for a Knightsbridge penthouse must hand over nearly half a million pounds, following an investigation by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
Albanian drug dealers found with cocaine in a Primark shopping bag04/02/2019 08:20:00
Three Albanians – two who were in the UK illegally - found with a kilo of 92 per cent pure cocaine in a Primark bag have been jailed.
Man arrested over Christmas Day people smuggling attempt01/02/2019 11:15:00
A man has been arrested on suspicion of people smuggling offences as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into an attempt to reach the UK by small boat on Christmas Day 2018.
Five years for people smuggler caught in undercover NCA investigation31/01/2019 14:15:00
A man who helped organise a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants into the UK has been jailed for five years after an undercover NCA investigation.
NCA publishes annual assessment of county lines as over 600 arrested as part of national coordinated activity targeting drug dealing model30/01/2019 12:15:00
The National Crime Agency (NCA) yesterday published its fourth annual assessment into county lines drug supply, vulnerability and harm.
Users of illegal websites targeted in joint law-enforcement activity29/01/2019 14:15:00
The National Crime Agency, working with law enforcement partners from 14 countries, has taken action against a number of cyber criminals website users linked to four million attacks across the globe.