AN ex-fugitive who sparked a nationwide manhunt when he fled abroad while wanted on drugs charges has admitted his offending.
Stuart Mottram Jnr, from Sunderland, was wanted by the UK’s national crime agency in relation to his involvement in a £7million plot to import drugs into the country but evaded justice when the rest of his gang were jailed in 2013.
He was believed to be on the run in Holland and was captured after a European arrest warrant was issued.
At Newcastle Crown Court the 47-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to contravene the prohibition of importation of amphetamine.
He appeared in court via videolink to HMP Durham.
Judge Robert Adams adjourned the case and Mottram will be sentenced at a later date.
The judge told him: “You are remanded in custody.”
Mottram’s co-conspirator Sandro Farini, of Newbottle, was jailed two years ago for masterminding a plot to bring vast quantities of rare, 100 per cent pure amphetamine sulphate into the UK from Europe.
The court heard he was under surveillance by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and was heard bragging he expected to make up to £15million through his illegal dealings.
Farini and his right-hand man Jaswinder Sahota, were each jailed for seven years.
The gang carried out what was described as a “sophisticated conspiracy”, using pre-paid mobile phones and coded messages to arrange the importation of the drugs.
The mob was arrested after a member was caught with liquid amphetamine, worth £5.28million on the streets.
It was found stored in six 10 litre containers in the cabin of his lorry at Coquelles in France in October.
A second seizure was made during an exchange at a car park in Doxford Park, Sunderland.
An estimated £2.04million-worth of the drug was then recovered.
The gang had been under surveillance by specialist undercover officers who had tracked them using 13 different phone boxes in the North East to organise their deals, with contacts in Belgium and Holland.
Farini, of Grange View, Newbottle, and Sahota, 47, of Keats Avenue, Derby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a Class B drug.