Desmond Logan, customs investigator – obituary


Desmond Logan, who has died aged 79, was a devoted Customs & Excise officer who exercised appreciable affect on intelligence-based operations in opposition to main drug producing and smuggling cartels in South America.

The son of a surveyor, Desmond Logan was born in Belfast on December 10 1936. Having attended St Malachy’s Faculty, he joined the Waterguard, the uniform department of HM Customs & Excise, in 1958. He served in Northern Eire, Southampton and at Heathrow Airport earlier than in 1975 transferring to the Investigation Division.

The next yr, alongside along with his accomplice, Peter Bennett (later shot lifeless on responsibility), Logan performed a number one position in an investigation into critical smuggling and fraud on the highest ranges of the gemstone trade in London and Antwerp, which resulted within the seizure of considerable portions of diamonds.

Later he grew to become concerned in investigating large-scale drug smuggling into Britain. After studying Spanish he was posted in 1986 as First Secretary to the British Embassy in Lima, answerable for gathering intelligence on drug trafficking and in creating the position of drug liaison officers in British embassies in South America.

He orchestrated the arrest and imprisonment of a whole Lima-based organisation, which included senior Peruvian officers, smuggling cocaine into London and Bonn, and oversaw the interception of 20 kgs of cocaine within the diplomatic bag. He additionally negotiated the discharge of a kidnapped Briton, solely to be berated by the sufferer for “interfering in his journey”. In 1989 he transferred to Bogotá, the place he presided over the interception of greater than 5.7 tonnes of cocaine, valued at £1,700 million.

Logan’s intelligence situated the hiding place in Medellin of Gustavo Gaviria, a cousin of Pablo Escobar and quantity two within the Medellin cartel. Gaviria’s closely defended home was surrounded and he was killed. Every week later, moderately than threat an analogous destiny, Pablo Escobar surrendered.

Working carefully with a small, reliable group of gallant Colombian Anti-Narcotics Police particular forces and a detachment of British particular forces, Logan managed his intelligence community so successfully that inside months the ability of his goal cartels started to wane, with a lot of their “capos” being both killed or taken into custody.

He was in a position to obtain this by means of his preternatural means, widespread to all nice intelligence officers, to guage trustworthiness in others and instil in them complete religion in his personal discretion and an understanding that he would all the time put their security first.

In 1994, he was adorned by the Colombians with the Servicios Distinguidos medal.

He retired from C&E in 1996 however continued working in South America, Palestine and Cuba. In Havana he offered coaching in intelligence gathering and interview methods, throughout which the primary ever cocaine seizure was made at Havana Airport, and through the course of three months, greater than 900 kgs have been seized. On the finish of his keep in Cuba he was personally thanked by Fidel Castro.

In widespread with many members of HM Customs & Excise he regarded the later reorganisation and rebranding into HM Income & Customs as change for change’s sake and missing in benefit.

Logan was appointed MBE in 1991, and took nice satisfaction in his membership of the Particular Forces Membership, having been proposed by members of the SAS.

On the age of 76 he graduated from Ruskin Faculty, Oxford, with a level in English.

Des Logan was a household man of nice persona, a raconteur with a fund of tales and a willingness to help others whenever.

He’s survived by his spouse Nan, two sons and a daughter.

Desmond Logan, born December 10 1936, died Might 20 2016


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