Extradited drug dealer jailed for 18 yearsThursday 20 June 2013 22.08
An international drug dealer who was extradited to the UK after living in Ireland for 15 years has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in a massive drugs smuggling operation.
Philip Baron posed as a businessman and lived in a luxury house in Straffan, Co Kildare.
He was investigated by the Garda National Drugs Unit before being sent back to England after losing appeals to both the High Court and the Supreme Court.
Baron pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis to the UK from South Africa and Costa Rica between 2005 and 2009.
A judge at Liverpool Crown Court said the 58-year-old sold drugs on a commercial scale so he could lead the life he did, but cared not for the lives of others.
Judge David Aubrey said Baron was driven by "avarice and greed".
Baron and his criminal organisation used virtual offices and the stolen details of legitimate companies and law-abiding citizens to import the drugs.
The cocaine and cannabis were professionally wrapped, boxed and labelled with the logos of well-known international companies, described as brochures, manuals and technical literature from Spain.
Baron, whose codename was Butlin, also dealt directly with international drug traffickers and met members of the South American drug cartels at a hotel in Escazu, Costa Rica to arrange the purchase of cocaine
He operated a sophisticated method of communication, which was discovered by the Garda National Drugs Unit when they raided his home in Kildare.
After his arrest, Baron spent a year-and-a-half fighting extradition to the UK, a battle he lost in November of last year.