ONE of Britain's most notorious criminals Curtis Warren is set to be released from prison this month.
The drug-dealing mastermind built an empire that earned him £200million and he was once top of Interpol's most wanted.
By 34, he had properties in Wales, Spain and Gambia. He also had a winery, petrol stations, apartment blocks, a private yacht and mansion across Europe.
And he had more than 200 rented houses in his home city Liverpool. He even once appeared on The Sunday Times rich list.
Meanwhile, his brother Ramon used to play chess for Wales and his sister Maria studied maths and physics at university.
Warren used to boast: "If I spent 50 grand a day I wouldn't go broke."
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But a childhood friend insisted he was driven by more than the money, saying that Warren hated authority and those in power.
He was jailed in 2009 for 13 years over a £1million cannabis smuggling plot.
There are rumours that he has left envelopes of £1million in gardens around Liverpool to dig up when he gets out.
It is also feared his release could galvanise the city's underworld. One Merseyside Police officer said earlier this year: "We've come a long way.
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"The last thing anyone wants is Warren returning and creating another drugs turf war in Liverpool."
But there may be a ban on him returning to his old stomping ground when he gets out of his high-security prison in Worcestershire.
Warren even has a Scotland travel ban for when he gets out. Authorities will require him to give at least seven days' notice if he wants to go there.
He is also expected to be barred from WhatsApp and cryptocurrency.
The so-called 'Cocky Watchman' was just 12 when he began burgling homes. He was said to be small for his age, which helped with getting through windows.
And he attacked two police officers when he was 16, although those who knew him insisted he wasn't violent.
Stephen Mee previously said: "He was very calm and collected. He didn't react with violence. not like thee young ones today."
Another said: “He was quiet. He didn’t shout much. That’s what made him so f***ing terrifying.
"There was something in his eyes. He didn’t take shit from nobody, no matter who you are.”
When Warren was 20, he was jailed for five years for armed robbery. He had nicked £8,000 in used notes.
He got into the drugs trade when he got out, becoming friendly with the big Cali cartel.
And in 1991, he went to Venezuela himself with Brian Charrington to import 500kg cocaine, sealed inside lead ingots.
Customs contacts gave him intel about checks in advance so he could avoid the drugs being detected.
It became one of the biggest drug shipments to enter Britain and made Warren £87million.
Warren was eventually busted in 1992 when a second shipment of 1,000kg of cocaine was seized.
But the prosecution collapsed the following year and he is said to have left court telling customs agents: "I’m off to spend my £87 million from the first shipment and you can’t touch me."
DRUG DEALER FRIENDS
He later became close to drug dealer Stephen Mee after they played chess together when they were both in a category A jail.
In 1996 they began plotting more drug deals, but by October that year Warren's safe house an hour from Amsterdam was raided.
Police found weapons, 400kg of cocaine, 1,500kg of cannabis resin, 60kg of heroin, 50kg of ecstasy and a lot of money in a haul worth around £125million.
In 1997, he got 12 years in a maximum security prison where he killed another inmate who set upon him.
Warren left the Netherlands when he got out in June 2007 and began visiting a girlfriend in Jersey.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency was closely watching him and he was arrested again with another man called Jonathan Welsh in July 1997 on conspiracy to smuggle cannabis into Jersey.
He was found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
In 2020, he had an affair with a female prison guard at HMP Frankland, near Durham.
Stephanie Smithwaite even had his name tattooed on her body and cut a hole in her trousers to make sex easier.
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