By James Bryce
HE was thought to be a key member of a 90 million-euro cocaine empire.
Dubbed one of Britain’s ‘Most Wanted’, he was sought by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) for his involvement in a plot to smuggle 299kg of the white powder into the UK.
But, as it turns out, Jamie Dempsey, 33, was simply taking a holiday on the Costa del Sol when police swooped last year getting completely the wrong man.
Following a two-year investigation he has now walked free from court, after a judge cleared him of conspiracy to supply cocaine.
“I’m just relieved the nightmare is over,” Dempsey said outside Leicester Crown Court.
“I couldn’t be further from being a criminal – I’m just a penniless plumber from Essex.
“I was in Marbella at my parent’s house when I was arrested – the police simply got the wrong man.”
Dempsey had been arrested as he relaxed at his parents’ villa in the hills near Benahavis in May.
He had earlier appeared on a Most Wanted list of crooks hiding on the Costa del Sol and even featured in an episode of BBC’s Crimewatch.
Last year three people arrested in the same police operation were jailed for a total of 55 years.
Taxi driver John Esqulant and Colombian Fernando Hurtado were each jailed for 23 years at the same court after being convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Part-time model and promising footballer Frank Stedman was handed a nine-year sentence after admitting the same offence.