Alleged drug dealer Stephen Holmes captured in Gibraltar - after going on the run 12 years ago
AN alleged drug dealer who went on the run from justice almost 12 years ago has been arrested – working in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Gibraltar.
During his absence Stephen Holmes, 55, had "been all over the world," a judge said.
Holmes, of Brooklyn Road, Rowanfield, Cheltenham, did not turn up at Gloucester Crown Court in 2001 to face four charges of possessing class A and class B drugs worth about £40,000 with intent to supply them.
He had also been charged with possessing cannabis resin and amphetamines.
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A warrant was issued for his arrest and years later Judge Jamie Tabor QC was told it had finally been executed in Gibraltar.
The judge remanded Holmes in custody until April 8.
Holmes is jointly charged with his son Neil, now 35, who did attend the 2001 hearing. Neil pleaded not guilty to three charges of possessing cannabis resin, herbal cannabis and amphetamines with intent to supply them to others on April 4, 2001.
It is understood his case is still to be dealt with by the court.
It emerged that Holmes had been working for the last three years at the Bruce's Farm rehabilitation centre run by the Gibraltar Care Agency. It was there that he was arrested.
A registered charity, the centre opened in September 1999 and has helped more than 350 people struggling with serious problems of addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling.
When Holmes was taken before a court in Gibraltar for extradition proceedings Stipendiary Magistrate Charles Pitto described the charges as "serious drug-related matters".
Even before this case came to light, the Gibraltar Care Agency had taken steps to strengthen its vetting procedures. Last year it introduced enhanced vetting for new employees from outside Gibraltar. Employees are required to produce criminal background checks from their countries of origin. Additionally, current staff will also have to provide the checks.