Image source, GMP

The kingpin of a violent organised crime gang who ran his empire from abroad has been jailed.

Nathan Vanden organised “violent attacks against rivals or anyone who crossed him” whilst hiding out in the Netherlands, police said.

At Manchester Crown Court, the 33-year-old admitted conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to cause fear or violence and endanger life

He was sentenced to 26 years.

Greater Manchester Police said Vanden had fled to Holland in October 2019 but maintained a criminal hold in Salford “through the foot soldiers he recruited to do the dirty work”.

He organised shootings and for people to be threatened, with grenades and knives, if they did not comply with his arrests, the force added.

The investigation – codenamed Operation Drever – uncovered the true extent of Vanden’s hierarchy and involvement within organised crime following a surveillance operation in April 2020.

That led to the arrests of his associates and the seizure of encrypted mobile phones.

‘Terrorised community’

Officers found a Glock 19 handgun hidden in a sock, a further Glock 19 handgun was discovered following a firearms discharge and they also found cocaine and cannabis.

The evidence against the organised crime group was strongly linked to Vanden who was sitting at the top of the enterprise, GMP said.

A European arrest warrant was obtained by the force and in May 2020 law enforcement partners in Holland arrested Vanden and he was extradited back to the UK in May 2021.

Speaking after sentencing, Det Insp Rick Castley said: “Vanden terrorised the Salford and Manchester community using his foot soldiers to do his dirty work while he was hiding out in Holland.

“We were determined to capture him no matter where he was hiding.”

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 Nathan Vanden organised “violent attacks” whilst hiding out in the Netherlands, police say.  Read More