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
Major NCA operation targets crime groups involved in the sexual exploitation of women17/05/2019 08:20:00
Man appears in court accused of sourcing properties for use as brothels and cannabis factories
Eight-year NCA investigation results in multi-million pound asset recovery including luxury hotel and £100k Bentley14/05/2019 16:15:00
Around £6m worth of assets including an award winning luxury hotel and a £100,000 Bentley were recovered.
181,000 UK offenders fuelling “chronic and corrosive” threat from serious and organised crime14/05/2019 15:37:00
NCA Director General says a £2.7bn investment in law enforcement is needed to combat SOC over the next three years.
Dutch national charged after 35kgs of cocaine found hidden in lorry13/05/2019 14:15:00
40-year Dutch man charged with drug offences after cocaine seizure.
Pair jailed for supplying guns made at Hailsham firearms factory09/05/2019 16:15:00
Two men have been jailed for a combined 29-and-a-half years for conspiring to sell handguns made at an illegal gun factory in East Sussex.
Properties worth £2m frozen following PCTF investigation09/05/2019 15:28:00
NCA officers obtain orders on nine properties in Northern Ireland.
Two men arrested in Sheffield on suspicion of drugs and firearms offences09/05/2019 13:37:00
Two men arrested in Sheffield on suspicion of drugs and firearms offences.
NCA investigate 40 people on suspicion of child sex abuse offences09/05/2019 11:15:00
Thirty-eight men and two women are being investigated by the National Crime Agency in connection with serious child sexual abuse and exploitation offences in Rotherham.