Brentwood, Essex’s Richard Wakeling arrested in Bangkok, Thailand

Richard Wakeling, 55, of Brentwood, Essex, England, United Kingdom is a convicted drug gang boss with connections to Thailand, Spain, Canada, Ireland and Northern Ireland. He only has one leg.

Lesley Muffett, 59, of Witham, Essex used to work for Wakeling as a truck driver. On April 9, 2016, Muffett drove a truck that was transporting furniture from Italy but stopped in Ternat, Flemish Brabant, Belgium.


Border Force colleagues stopped the truck when it was boarding a train on the Channel Tunnel, which starts in Folkestone, Kent, England and ends in Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, Hauts-de-France, France. Phone evidence in Ternat showed Muffett was directed to collect the drugs.

It was Wakeling who set up the entire importation. He was in contact with drug suppliers in the Netherlands and liaised with two other offenders from the U.K. to arrange the importation, which also involved Stuart Davidson, 65, of Basildon, Essex and Darren Keane, 34, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England.


On January 5, 2018, Wakeling went on the run ahead of his 12-week trial. He was put on the most wanted list of the National Crime Agency, the U.K.’s lead agency against organized crimes, including human, weapon and drug trafficking; cybercrime and economic crime that goes across regional and international borders.

After fleeing to Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wakeling relocated to the beachside town of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand. In April 2018, he was convicted in his absence at Chelmsford Crown Court in Chelmsford, Essex and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

On February 10, 2023, Wakeling went to a garage in Bangkok, Thailand to collect his car after repairs. Royal Thai Police officers found him there in possession of a passport in another identity and arrested him.

Wakeling remains in custody in Bangkok. He is expected to be extradited to England soon.

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