Ostrich conman Martin Evans to be extradited to UK

Martin Evans appeared in the court room and posed smiling for the media

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A fugitive drug dealing conman from Swansea who went on the run in South Africa will be extradited to the UK.

Martin Evans, 52, who swindled ostrich farm investors in south Wales out of £900,000, appeared at Randburg Magistrates' Court, Johannesburg, on Monday.

Evans told the court that he had no desire to appeal the decision.

The extradition ruling comes after the former Young Businessman of the Year for Wales' arrest on 2 August.

He was jailed for 21 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and fraudulent trading in 2006, but disappeared in 2011 while on weekend release from a prison in Wiltshire.

After the hearing, Lt Gen Solomon Makgale said: "Martin Evans has appeared in court. He has been found by the Randburg magistrate court to be extraditable.

"The date of the actual extradition cannot be communicated at this stage for security reasons."

Fugitive

The former Young Businessman of the Year for Wales, from Pontardulais, went on the run in August 2011 after failing to return from weekend prison release.

He was named by police as one of the UK's "most wanted" in 2012 and they suspected he was living a life of luxury in northern Cyprus.

But Evans then fled the country to South Africa, where he was tracked down and arrested on Saturday 2 August.

Officers swooped while he was getting out of his car at a housing complex. The fugitive's capture followed an operation involving the NCA and Interpol, and intelligence-led surveillance operations by South African Police.

Branch commander of the National Crime Agency in Wales Simon Flowers previously admitted it was difficult to track Evans down but said the time and money spent recapturing him was "absolutely" worth it.

Martin Evans at his ostrich farm Evans set up his ostrich farm after another business failed
Drug dealer

Evans began his criminal career in the mid-1990s after his double-glazing firm in Port Talbot failed.

It was then he set up the ostrich-breeding business, which promised profits of 70% a year, but he swindled nearly £1m out of investors.

He was due to stand trial in Swansea in March 2000 but jumped bail and went on the run to Spain and Holland where he masterminded a multi-million-pound drugs and money laundering operation.

He brought at least £3m worth of ecstasy and cocaine into the UK.

But in November 2001 he was was caught trying to enter into the US. Evans was flown to Paris and eventually extradited to UK and sentenced to 21 years for drug and money laundering offences.

In April 2006, while still serving his sentence, Evans was sentenced to a further four years for the ostrich farm scam.

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