Sunday, July 30, 2017

Billy Blackledge oldest fugitive on Interpol’s list of the most wanted UK crooks

Now 81, Scot William 'Billy' Blackledge was named last week as the oldest fugitive on Interpol’s list of the most wanted Brit crooks. Skilled pilot Blackledge defied law enforcement teams to fly huge batches of cocaine to North America from Columbia for the powerful Cali Cartel in the 1980s.

The group was a rival to Pablo Escobar’s Medellin empire and once controlled 90 per cent of the global cocaine trade, raking in $5 billion a year.

Allan ‘The Weasel’ Ross
Blackledge carved out a key role in the murky trade after moving to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the 1970s. It is believed he met dope smuggler Angel Sanchez, one of the Cali Cartel’s leaders, in 1981 and helped him to deliver his first batch of cocaine to the US the following year. After becoming a trusted ally, Blackledge was introduced in 1986 to Allan ‘The Weasel’ Ross — chief of Canada’s powerful West End Gang.

Blackledge negotiated for the Montreal group to buy massive shipments of cocaine from Sanchez twice a week. The Weasel introduced Blackledge to the Hell’s Angels and the Scot used his Colombian links to connect the biker gang with cocaine worth millions.

Miguel Angel Rodríguez Orejuela
RCMP believed they finally had Blackledge in their sights in 1991 when The Weasel was caught allegedly trying to smuggle ten tons of cocaine in Florida. Blackledge continued to dodge them. The Cali Cartel’s co-founder Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela was arrested and extradited to the US from Colombia in 2005, triggering the group’s downfall.

Decades have passed since Blackledge was last positively sighted and there are only two grainy black-and-white photos of him. According to Interpol, Blackledge is 5ft 8in with blue eyes and red hair .