British Poker Enthusiast Guilty of International Drug Smuggling

3 min read

Poker player Robert Knight sentenced to 11 years for drug crimes.
British poker player Robert Knight was arrested while playing a cash game in Spain. (Image: Press Association)

A poker playing “drug lord” from the UK has just been sentenced to 11 years in prison after being found guilty of international drug smuggling.

Robert Knight, an amateur poker player from Walsall, UK, went on the run back in 2008 after police seized six kilograms of cocaine at Heathrow Airport.

After investigating the haul, investigators linked the drugs to Knight but by this time he’d fled the UK.

Wanted on suspicion of being an international drug smuggler, Knight was put on the UK’s most wanted list while Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) searched for him.

Eventually, after six years of being on the run, Knight was found and arrested in a sports bar in Benidorm, Spain, back in 2014.

Playing Poker Before His Arrest

Unaware of the approaching police, Knight was enjoying a game of Texas Hold’em before the gun-wielding officers burst into the bar and arrested him.

According to police reports following the arrest, Knight believed he was in the clear after evading the law for six years; however, that proved not to be the case.

“He had been on the run for a number of years but we were able to track him down. Spain is not a safe haven,” said Hank Cole, Head of International Operations for the UK’s National Crime Agency.

After taking Knight back to the UK at the close of 2014, he was kept in jail pending a court trial. That hearing took place earlier this week and after assessing the evidence, the poker player turned drug smuggler was handed an 11 year prison sentence.

You Can’t Outrun the Law

During the trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the judge heard evidence of Knight’s involvement in the drug trade and eventually found him guilty of importing Class A drugs.

Following the trial, DCI Sab Johal of the Serious Organized Crime Unit said that the case shows that running from the law is a negative EV move.

“If Knight thought that after seven years he had successfully evaded capture and he had dropped off our radar then he was mistaken. We were working with Crimestoppers, the NCA, Spanish counterparts and last September this work came to fruition,” Johal told the press.

Knight will now spend the next 11 years behind bars where it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to indulge his passion for poker.

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