UFC cage fighter ‘The Bear’ was enforcer for Brit cartel’s cocaine empire

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A cage fighter nicknamed "The Bear" was the "enforcer" for a drug empire that collapsed after police seized £20m of cocaine on the M6.

Liverpool brothers Alan and John Tobin supplied vast amounts of Class A drugs to gangs across England, Wales and Scotland, Liverpool Echo reports.

The Tobins were backed up by former UFC competitor Robbie 'The Bear' Broughton, who enforced debts and collected payments from notorious gang leaders.

Liverpool Crown Court today heard the 6ft 2in, 18st heavyweight moved an estimated £30m of cash and used an encrypted EncroChat phone with the handle "NovaBear".

Judge Garrett Byrne today said the married dad-of-two was the "muscle" for the gang and said: "I've no doubt you have a keen sense of letting your family down."

Nicola Daley, prosecuting, said the Tobins ran a "criminally sophisticated, highly profitable and well-organised business" for more than four years, between 2016 and 2020.

Alan, 52, of Regency Park, Widnes, and John, 40, formerly of Manor Road, Prescot, had minions trading primarily in cocaine, but also in heroin, cannabis and ketamine.

But the brothers had to become more hands-on after instructing Jamie Simpson to transport a £20m stash of cocaine from Kent to Warrington for them.

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Detectives made the largest ever seizure of cocaine on land in the UK when they intercepted the van, carrying 186kg of up to 90% pure cocaine under floorboards and in a specially adapted "hide", in the early evening on August 2, 2018.

The Tobin brothers also sold drugs to other gangs in London, North Wales, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Manchester, the North East and Scotland, using couriers like Liverpool dad Anwar Rahim.

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Ms Daley said Broughton, 38, of Breccia Gardens, didn't have direct contact with drugs, but was used to "enforce unpaid debts" and involved in moving cash, which she said given the amounts of drugs involved could be around £30m in total.

Broughton continued to work for the Tobins until their arrest in 2020 when the brothers were struggling with "large debts."

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The drug ring was taken down on September 9 last year, when police raided the gang's homes to arrest those involved.

Anthony Barraclough, defending Broughton, who fought out of the legendary Wolfslair MMA Academy in Widnes, said he should be sentenced as a "money launderer" within a drug plot given his role.

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He added that the fighter was "a good man, a good father, a good husband and a good friend" to many people.

However, Judge Byrne rejected the suggestion Broughton should be sentenced as a money launderer within a drugs plot and said it was "entirely artificial".

Jailing him for eight and a half years, he said: "I've no doubt you have a keen sense of letting your family down and I hope when you're released you have their best interests uppermost in your mind."

  • UFC
  • Drugs
  • Crime
  • Courts

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