Cops fear gangland gun fights when ‘British Pablo Escobar’ is freed from prison

Police are on alert for a gangland power struggle when cocaine kingpin Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren is freed from prison this month.

Sources believe his associates “will be knocking on doors” over the unsolved murder of his former number two Colin Smith.

When Warren was jailed over a drugs conspiracy in 1997, his friend and business partner Smith took over the international cocaine empire he’d set up with Colombia’s Cali Cartel.

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But Smith was murdered outside a gym in 2007. Police fear his suspected killers, believed to be in Dubai, could be targeted in revenge.

A police source close to the National Crime Agency said: “Warren’s been the subject of numerous top-level meetings.

“Merseyside officers are desperate to keep a lid on gangland shootings – especially after the killing of Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

“But there’s no getting away from the fact that Curtis Warren is still a huge name with a big reach on Merseyside and beyond, so there are considerable steps in place to monitor any potential for fallout.”

Warren still has major support from the ‘Liverpool Mafia’ – a collection of powerful crime bosses.

One gangland figure said : “There’ll be eyes all over Curtis when he gets out and he knows he’ll be restricted as to where he can go and who he can see.

“He’s an intelligent man so I’m sure he’ll be keeping a low profile on his release."

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“It’s highly likely he’ll never get back in the game again but when the dust settles he’ll be knocking on doors and having conversations. There’s a lot of unfinished business and a lot of people who need to answer for things that have happened whilst he’s been away.”

A well-known name on Merseyside with links to the feared Kinahan Cartel is believed to have been looking after some of Warren’s interests while he’s been in prison.

The source said: “Warren was high up in the Cartel when he left but things have moved on since then. He may not like that. But he does have some heavyweight backing. It will be interesting to see what happens when he gets out.’

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Warren, nicknamed the “Cocky Watchman”, has been dubbed the Pablo Escobar of Britain. He was sentenced to 12 years in 1996 for attempting to move a £125million drugs shipment from the Netherlands to the UK, then got another four years for killing a fellow prisoner.

Days after his release in 2007 he was arrested over a plot to smuggle £1m of cannabis and handed a 13-year sentence in 2009.

Warren was later given another 10-year term, of which he has served half, for failing to pay a £198million confiscation order.

He is on a list published by the National Crime Agency of individuals who have been issued with serious crime prevention orders, which will kick in upon his release.

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