He is suspected of operating a £300million empire built on smuggling cocaine, heroin and cannabis in deals with criminal cartels in Latin America, the Middle East and Spain. And all from his jail cell.
But 48-year-old Warren faces the biggest challenge yet to his evil enterprise as police launch a double assault in the courts on his fortune.
Authorities in Jersey are set to haul him before a judge next month to face a £200million Confiscation Order after he was convicted of drug smuggling on the Channel Island in 2009.
And in a second attack the Serious Organised Crime Agency, in a rare move, is asking judges to impose a Serious Crime Prevention Order in the High Court in London to stop him in his tracks when he is released in 2015. Yesterday Warren’s legal team won an adjournment in the High Court to delay a hearing scheduled for this week so they can prepare the crime lord’s defence.
With typical arrogance he told his lawyers to fight the bid on the grounds it breaches his “human rights”.
The SCP order, signed by Alun Milford, the Chief Crown Prosecutor and director of the Serious Organised Crime Division, seeks to restrict Warren’s use of communication devices and public phones.
It demands that he never has more than £1,000 in cash, to “make it harder for him to buy drugs or reward criminal associates”. And a financial reporting requirement will “deter him from acquisitive crime and give law enforcement authorities the opportunity to investigate any wealth he comes into”.
A source said: “Curtis is almost untouchable. A mobile is vital to him. It’s all he needs to operate. There are thousands of mobiles smuggled into the prison system and he has the means to get one.”
Curtis Warren, from Liverpool, leaves The Royal Court in St Hellier
Warren is the only convicted criminal ever to appear on The Sunday Times rich list, which in 2005 described him as a “property developer” with an estimated fortune of £76million. But according to underworld sources his real wealth is four times that.
He appointed himself chairman and chief operating officer of a global operation to flood Britain with cocaine and heroin.
His criminal associates say Warren’s business philosophy was simple and effective – drugs are a product to buy and sell like oil and gold. He is a meticulous planner whose organisation resembles the layers of executives and managers you find in a City institution, said a police source who has followed Warren’s career.
Before the euro was introduced, he was said to be putting £1million a week in money-laundering scams after trusted couriers changed cash into German marks and Dutch guilders and moved it abroad.
Paul Grimes, a gangster turned supergrass after his son died from a heroin overdose, said: “Warren wanted to be the cock everyone looks up to. He loves the status.”
Even behind bars it is feared Warren still handles deals and keeps phone numbers in his head as he links supplies to smugglers.
Detectives believe he has villas in Spain, Turkey and Gambia, owned through an intricate web of associates who also operate a Spanish casino, Turkish petrol stations and 250 rental properties in the North West of England.
Warren says the claims are “ridiculous”, alleging that he only has a flat in Liverpool’s Albert Dock and a house on the Wirral.
Softly-spoken Warren started his criminal career at the bottom when he was just nine and living at home with his dad, sailor Curtis Aloysius, and mum Sylvia, a shipyard boiler attendant. He was recruited by a gang to climb through small windows and burgle homes. By 11 he was carrying out muggings and armed robberies in the tough estates of Toxteth, Liverpool.
At 18, he was sent to borstal for assaulting police. In an adult jail eh honed his talent for crime.
Warren started selling drugs on the street and rubbing shoulders with Liverpool’s biggest villains, who underwrote huge cocaine consignments with Columbia’s Cali mobsters worth millions.
He does not drink or take drugs, allowing his photographic memory to be razor-sharp at all times – especially in jail. On the outside, he has always shunned flash cars and big houses and wears tracksuits instead of Armani suits so as not to attract attention.
“Cocky takes no unnecessary risks,” said an ex-associate.
Paul Grimes added: “Unlike me and my crew, he wasn’t out till all hours in the pubs and clubs. He wasn’t flash. If he was grafting it was all VW Golfs and Passats or a low-key Rover.” Streetwise Warren gave contacts nicknames, including The Vampire, The Egg On Legs and Cracker to throw eavesdropping police off the scent.
His methods developed a business worth hundreds of millions as the drug trade exploded in the 1980s. He became a trusted client of Colombian cocaine cartels, Turkish heroin producers and Spanish cannabis suppliers.
It enabled him to get huge quantities of drugs on credit.
As he left court on a technicality during a 1993 trial for smuggling cocaine worth £250million, he is said to have told Customs officers he was “off to spend my £87million from the first shipment and you can’t f****** touch me”. Grimes, who will be under witness protection for the rest of his life, said: “Warren is a parasite.”
As Merseyside turf wars worsened in the mid-1990s, Warren moved to Sassenheim in Holland.
When Dutch police intercepted 400kg of cocaine, the game was up – for the time being.
At other addresses controlled by Warren, officers discovered a £150million haul containing 1,500kg of cannabis, 60kg of heroin, 50kg of ecstasy, 960 CS gas canisters, three guns, ammunition and £400,000 in Dutch guilders. The bust put Warren behind bars for 12 years in 1997.
In 2005, Dutch police charged him with running a drug smuggling cartel from his cell but the case was dropped because of insufficient evidence.
On his release, Warren returned to his manor in Merseyside to take up his mantle as the King of Coke.
But within weeks he was busted plotting what he described as “just a little starter” to get himself re-established as the No1 drugs baron in Europe.
He was jailed again in 2009 for 13 years for trying to smuggle £1million of cannabis into Jersey – for which he is still behind bars at Full Sutton Prison near York.
Following his sentence at Jersey’s Royal Court, SOCA said Warren was on its Lifetime Offender Management List.
However, Warren could now have his vast fortune seized. After he was jailed, Jersey authorities said they were determined to force Warren to hand over his assets and are seeking a Confiscation Order for more than £200million.
Warren is determined to take his fight against the Confiscation Order – which could see police seize his properties purchased with proceeds of crime – all the way to the European courts.
His solicitor said his client will “fight it all the way”.
Last week, in a similar case that will strike fear into the London underworld, kingpin Terry Adams, 57, was jailed for eight weeks, for breaching a Financial Reporting Order, after authorities demanded details on his spending.
Officers are determined that this week’s application in the High Court will finally nail Warren’s sinister organisation.
It is understood that this is the first SCPO to be applied for through the High Court.
Breaching any SCPO can lead to five years in jail and an unlimited fine. But in true Cocky fashion, Warren laughs off the order as “a mere irritant” in his bid to remain the drug trade’s Numero Uno.
WARREN once killed a fellow prisoner in a fight.
Cemal Guclu, a Turk serving 20 years for murder, attacked him at Hoorn Prison, Holland, in 1999.
Warren punched Guclu to the ground and kicked him in the head four times. Incredibly, Guclu got up but Warren struck him again. He hit his head on the ground and later died.
Warren was convicted of manslaughter and had four years added to his sentence.