Judge's anger at drug smuggler's arrest warrant delay
by Paul Hooper
A coach driver who disappeared in the middle of his
£3million drugs smuggling case is still on the run... because
no one has signed his arrest warrant.
Three months after Mimoun Bounaoura was convicted in his absence
of illegally importing nearly 59 kilos of heroin, the 28-year-old
Dutch national has not been caught.
Now a judge at Canterbury Crown Court has heard one of the
reasons could be his European arrest warrant has yet to be
sent to Dutch police.
Stephen Requena, prosecuting, said lawyers were waiting
until he was sentenced before issuing the order to arrest the Dutch
But Judge Michael O'Sullivan said: "It is ridiculous. It is
thoroughly unsatisfactory and I cannot understand the thinking
behind it (the delay)."
Bounaoura was found guilty by a jury in August of illegally
importing heroin in a coach he was driving in August 2011.
He was stopped at Coquelles, near Calais, driving into the
UK – and customs officials discovered heroin stashed in a black
suitcase with a street value of more than £3million.
Bounaoura breached his bail in August this year as his trial
neared its conclusion and was convicted of drug smuggling in his
The prosecutor said "unfortunately" a search for him "has not
borne fruit" and there was "a European arrest warrant application
But Judge O'Sullivan said: "Why on earth has the warrant not
been issued? It's ridiculous. Tell the Crown Prosecution Service
that it has wasted three months by not getting on with the issuing
"Had it been done it maybe he would have been found by those
charged with arresting him in Rotterdam or elsewhere in Holland and
he could be here for his sentence."
Mr Requena said after the coach driver absconded, his
details were sent to the ports although "there was cause to believe
he was still in the UK".
The judge ruled the warrant be issued "if not today then
certainly by the end of the week".
Sentence was adjourned again until December.
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