THE fugitive leader of a group that supplied huge amounts of heroin to the South West of England has handed himself in to police in Tenerife.
Stephen Blundell, a 36-year-old from Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin but fled to Spain before he could be sentenced in April 2013. He was later sentenced to nine years and eight months in jail.
Blundell was at the head of a crime group that included a Cornish grandmother caught with £50,000 (€65,265) worth of heroin in her shopping bag, hidden under some pasties.
A European Arrest Warrant was used to arrest Blundell when he handed himself in at a police station in Tenerife, and extradition proceedings are underway.
Blundell is the 64th fugitive found out of 76 publicised through Operation Captura, a multi-agency initiative between Crimestoppers, the British National Crime Agency and Spanish authorities.
Police in Devon and Cornwall targeted the Liverpool man during an 18-month long investigation into heroin supply from Merseyside into areas including Bodmin, Exeter, Tiverton and Torquay in the south-west of England.
Other members of the criminal group were given sentences totalling 77 years.
Founder and Chairman of Crimestoppers, Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, said: “I am delighted to see that once again the collaborative work between Crimestoppers, the NCA and the Spanish Police bears fruit as we see another wanted criminal off our streets.
“The media and the public play a big role in putting pressure on these individuals, who continue to think they can evade capture, and Stephen Blundell handing himself in to the authorities is an example that eventually you will be caught or you will have no choice but to give yourself up.”