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Cocaine conspirator jailed for 14 years

Robert Gerrard
Robert Gerrard

[A] drug trafficker who handed himself in after three years on the run because the pressure was too much, was jailed yesterday for 14 years.

Robert Gerrard, aged 53, pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to conspiring to import 62kgs of cocaine into the UK in a series of consignments in May and June 2013.

He travelled to Rotterdam and met international drug traffickers with the plan of importing the drugs from Latin America to the EU.

Gerrard, from Liverpool, featured in the Operation Return fugitive campaign run by the NCA and Crimestoppers.

The NCA appealed for help to find him following a raid in October 2013 on a Rotterdam café used as a front for a global operations centre for international drug traffickers.

Café de Ketel, which could only be entered via a buzzer system and was strictly for known faces, provided a meeting place where criminals negotiated with cartel members and arranged the financing and transportation of drugs.

NCA officers believe Gerrard, who could not be located at the time of the raid, used the café as part of the plot to import Class A into the UK.

Judge Patrick Field QC told him: “Yours was a highly sophisticated and well planned operation.”

In October 2016, Gerrard handed himself in, telling officers the pressure of being on the run was too much for him.

Greg McKenna, regional head of investigations for the NCA, said: “After being on the run and evading justice for so long, Robert Gerrard is finally where he belongs.

“He was fundamental to the plot to smuggle cocaine into the UK and fled in an attempt to avoid the long prison sentence he has now received.

“Gerrard featured in our Most Wanted campaigns and handed himself in last October because he couldn’t cope with the pressure of staying on the run.

“Other fugitives should learn from his example: we won’t stop hunting you, and we won’t stop making your life on the run as uncomfortable as possible.”

Gerrard was sentenced to 13 years and four months for the drugs plot.

He was given an extra eight months consecutive sentence for breaching a suspended sentence handed down in 2012.

Michael Moogan, aged 31, from Liverpool, is still wanted in connection with the conspiracy to import cocaine into the UK.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.