Drugs kingpin Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren – who has been freed from a maximum security prison – once had Gladiators star Warrior as one of his army of informants.
Notorious Warren, who built up a £200 million cocaine empire and was dubbed ‘Britain’s Pablo Escobar’, used the TV tough guy to get information on an attempted murder case involving his brother-in-law.
Musclebound Warrior – real name Mike Ahearne – was friends with a bent detective in Merseyside Police who was paid by Warren to leak sensitive information.
Ahearne had moved in with corrupt cop DCI Elmore Davies and was providing details to Warren about the prosecution of Philip Glennon Junior who was arrested after shooting at a bouncer outside the Venue nightclub in Liverpool in 1996.
However, the authorities were eventually alerted to the detective’s activities and his house was bugged by undercover officers.
In one taped conversation, subsequently played in court, Davies was heard telling the former TV star: ‘This is important. Curtis’s phone in prison is being recorded. His cell is bugged. There is an undercover policeman in prison with him.
‘Curtis’s wife’s phone’s being tapped. This is confidential police information. Dutch police have also tapped the phone of someone Curtis has spoken to.
‘There’s a suggestion he [Warren] is trying to bribe witnesses. That’s top f**king secret. It can only come from one place and that’s me. He won’t get it from anybody else.
‘I have got it from the DCI dealing with it and it’s top, top secret.’
Drugs kingpin Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren (left) – who has been freed from a maximum security prison – once had Gladiators star Warrior (right) as one of his army of informants
Musclebound Warrior – real name Mike Ahearne – was friends with a bent detective in Merseyside Police who was paid by Warren to leak sensitive information
Davies was promised £10,000 for the information but after his plan was foiled he was jailed for five years in 1997.
Ahearne – who now runs a gym in Birkenhead – was sentenced to 15-months in prison, although was released after six.
The extraordinary link between one of Britain’s best loved Gladiators stars and one of the country’s most notorious criminals was revealed in BBC podcast Gangster: The Story of Curtis Warren.
The six part series, uploaded in the summer, also revealed how Warren stuffed a million pounds in several envelopes and buried them all over Liverpool so he would have plenty of cash after leaving prison.
However, paper £20 and £50 notes ceased to be legal tender in September this year, whilst the paper £10 note was withdrawn from circulation in March 2018.
It means that, for it to be usable, Warren’s money would need to be taken to a bank and exchanged for the plastic polymer notes that replaced the paper ones.
Warren, 59, was released from Whitemoor jail in Cambridgeshire yesterday after being jailed in 2009 for 13 years over a £1million cannabis smuggling plot.
Notorious Warren, who built up a £200 million cocaine empire and was dubbed ‘Britain’s Pablo Escobar’ used the TV tough guy to get information on an attempted murder case involving his brother-in-law. Above: Warren in 1992
Ahearne had moved in with corrupt cop DCI Elmore Davies (pictured) and was providing details to Warren about the prosecution of Philip Glennon Junior who was arrested after shooting at a bouncer outside the Venue nightclub in Liverpool in 1996
According to reports he will now be subject to stringent restrictions including being prohibited from using social media apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook and being ordered to give police officers 24 hours’ notice before stepping into any friend’s car.
Warren became such a prolific drug dealer that he once appeared on the Sunday Times rich list and had more than 200 rented houses in Liverpool as well as properties in Spain, Wales and Gambia.
He also owned had a winery, petrol stations, apartment blocks and a private yacht – all by the age of 34 – and used to boast: ‘If I spent 50 grand a day I wouldn’t go broke.’
The so-called ‘Cocky Watchman’ was just 12 when he began burgling homes across Liverpool, his small build helping him through windows.
He became an armed robber seven years later and aged 20 was jailed for five years for stealing £8000 in used notes.
It was his release from prison that saw him become a serious player in the world of organised crime when he struck a deal with the huge Cali drugs cartel from Colombia.
Ahearne – who now runs a gym in Birkenhead – was sentenced to 15-months in prison
He was charged over the CS spray and admitted three counts of possessing a weapon ‘designed or adapted for the discharge of a noxious liquid’
Ahearne, who played rugby union for England at youth level and represented Great Britain at Mr Universe, was a household name in the prime of his career
In 1991 he and fellow drug dealer Brian Charrington travelled to Venezuela to import 500kg of cocaine, sealed inside lead ingots.
Contacts within Customs gave him intel about checks in advance so he could avoid the drugs being detected.
It became one of the biggest drug shipments to enter Britain and made Warren £87million.
The following year a second shipment of 1,000kg of cocaine was seized but the case collapsed with Warren living up to his cocky reputation by telling customs agents as he left court: ‘I’m off to spend my £87 million from the first shipment and you can’t touch me.’
In 1996 Warren’s safe house, an hour from Amsterdam, was raided and police found weapons, 400kg of cocaine, 1,500kg of cannabis resin, 60kg of heroin, 50kg of ecstasy and huge amounts of cash. Overall the haul was worth around £125million.
Standing at 6ft 4in, the ex-doorman was one of the best known faces in Gladiators, as the programme attracted viewing figures as high as 14m at its peak
He was previously arrested in 1997 and accused of involvement in a plot to foil the prosecution of Philip Glennon Jnr
In 1997, he got 12 years in a Dutch maximum security prison where he killed another inmate in retaliation for an attack.
Warren was freed in June 2007 and left the Netherlands, heading for Jersey where his girlfriend lived.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency were watching him, though, and he was arrested again weeks after leaving prison for his part in a multimillion pound conspiracy to smuggle cannabis onto the Channel Island.
He was found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to 13-years in prison.
Following his latest release, there are fears that Warren is heading back to Liverpool where he ran his worldwide criminal enterprise, sparking fear among the authorities.
One Merseyside Police officer said earlier this year: ‘We’ve come a long way.
‘The last thing anyone wants is Warren returning and creating another drugs turf war in Liverpool.’
Ahearne was arrested on suspicion of possessing the Class C drugs with intent to supply, but no charges were brought over the haul
The Daily Mail’s 1998 report on how Ahearne was jailed after bribing corrupt officer Elmore Davies
In 2018 Ahearne was caught by police with shopping bags full of steroids and CS spray canisters.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard in 2020 how police raided the former bodybuilder’s home in leafy Rose Mount, Oxton, Wirral on January 23, 2018.
They retrieved a large stash of various anabolic steroids, contained in a plastic Tesco shopping bag, another carrier bag and two boxes.
Ahearne was arrested on suspicion of possessing the Class C drugs with intent to supply, but no charges were brought over the haul.
But he was charged over the CS spray and admitted three counts of possessing a weapon ‘designed or adapted for the discharge of a noxious liquid’.
He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, at Liverpool Crown Court in October 2018 for these offences.