The arrest and conviction of one of Britain’s most notorious drugs barons ranks as a major achievement by the Island’s forces of law and order. Congratulations and thanks are due both to the States Police and the Crown Office prosecutors for the patient diligence with which they built their case against Curtis Warren and his associates, and then steadily overcame the series of legal hurdles placed in their way over the two-year period between arrest and trial.
The police officers who secured the arrests after a complex international surveillance operation must also be praised for taking on a convicted killer and career criminal who was allegedly so successful that his personal fortune has earned him a place in the Sunday Times Rich List.
As the evidence in the three-week trial revealed, they may have bent some points of inter-force protocol as their quest to thwart a £1 million cannabis smuggling plot moved into mainland Europe, but the States Police can argue with conviction that the end, in this case, justified the means.
For similar reasons, it is possible to defend the huge cost of a prosecution which saw unprecedented levels of security, with heavily armed officers becoming a familiar sight on the streets of St Helier. Unwelcome as that may have been, it must be remembered that Curtis Warren was not simply passing through. His intention was to flood this Island with cannabis, in the process re-establishing the business activities interrupted by a recent jail sentence in Holland.
The Jersey agencies had no real choice but to take him on and yesterday’s verdict must be a source of great satisfaction not only to them, but to everyone in the community they are sworn to protect.
As a result, our streets are much safer today than they might have been with a different outcome. Warren and his gang represent a dark and dangerous world of serious crime which, were it ever allowed a permanent foothold here, would rapidly destroy our communal peace of mind.
It is clear that the man nicknamed Cocky thought that little Jersey, whose relative affluence has trebled the average price of cannabis, would be a soft touch. Thanks to the police and Crown prosecutors, he has been proved wrong in a remarkable and reassuring fashion.