Well known gangland fugitive still stuck months after Dubai sting

A Warrington man who is wanted by police in connection to a drug and firearms offences is still in custody in the United Arab Emirates eight months after his arrest.

Leon Cullen, 31, was arrested in Dubai on January 3 this year during a joint operation involving the National Crime Agency, the North West Regional Crime Unit, Cheshire police, Interpol and the UAE authorities.

Cullen was held under an international arrest warrant and has been named as a suspect in a drug and firearms conspiracy led by his brother Anthony.

Anthony, who grew up in Warrington, headed up an ambitious drug gang with strong links to gangs in Liverpool and Manchester.

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Anthony Cullen and 19 other men were jailed for a total of 185 years in January 2019. Last June, a court ordered him to pay back the £378,139 following a proceeds of crime hearing.

The gang had access to a fully working AK47 assault rifle, a discovery which shocked experienced officers.

The ECHO can now reveal that Leon Cullen is still in custody in the UAE.

Cheshire police have declined to elaborate on why Cullen's extradition has been delayed for so long.

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The Warrington man is well known in Liverpool and Manchester.

Shortly after his arrest one of Cullen's closest friends was shot at in the street. The former boxer, who has served a prison sentence for drug offences, was shot at in Monks Place on January 11.

The Saturday morning shooting caused great shock for locals, but the man himself was not hurt.

The ECHO has revealed that powerful criminals from Salford have sponsored a campaign of violence in Warrington over recent months.

It has been claimed that a faction of extremely violent criminals from Salford who organised the murder of gangland figure Paul Massey are responsible for the serious violence in Warrington.

A woman who claimed to know the Warrington drug dealer at the centre of the dispute claimed his family was living in fear and described the Salford criminals as "psychos".

A spokesman for Cheshire Police confirmed that Leon Cullen was still in custody in the UAE. His extradition is ongoing and Cullen is expected to stand trial on his return to the UK.