Stephen Wright

Daily Mail

Crime journalist Stephen Wright had a vintage year with several stand-out articles including a gripping two-part investigation into murderous Albanian drug barons targeting the UK from South America, an astonishing twist in the Lord Lucan mystery and a bombshell probe into a corrupt Scotland Yard detective suspended on full pay for seven years before finally being sacked. In putting together this stellar body of work, Wright showed courage, determination, meticulous research and doggedness – cementing his reputation as one of Fleet Street’s finest operators and earning him the title of Journalist of the Year at the London Press Club Awards. Following a tip-off from a contact, Wright came up with the idea for a Mail investigation into the rise of Albanian Narcos supplying cocaine to the UK from Ecuador. For him, it was a great story which needed closer attention. How, according to law enforcement sources, had the Albanian mafia managed to take on the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels in their own backyard? Out of the comfort zone of working in the UK, Wright spent close to a month in Ecuador on what he regards as the most dangerous assignment of his 30 year Mail career. Why? Because the country is rife with corruption in the police, Navy, judiciary, legal system and the Government. Through an intermediary, he eventually persuaded an Ecuadorian gangster – a murderous sidekick of the leader of the Latin Kings mob in the country (who is known as ‘Carlos the Devil’) - to tell his story. The Latin Kings, he revealed, work with Albanian narcos to flood Europe with cocaine. In a moment of real drama, Wright also persuaded an anti-mafia prosecutor, who had survived five attempts on his life, to meet him in a car park to brief him on the rise of the Albanian drugs barons. The product of the Mail’s inquiries, both in Ecuador and the UK where Wright spent weeks investigating the drugs scene in Brighton where Albanian gangs have taken control, were revealed in the two-part Mail investigation into the trail of destruction left by Britain’s insatiable demand for cocaine. In a first for the Mail, an accompanying 20 minute documentary for The Mail+ and Mail Online ‘ALBANIAN NARCOS’: Bullets, Bloodshed & Britain’, complemented the print coverage: After weeks of painstaking work, Wright also produced a stunning world exclusive across five pages on the Lord Lucan story with the revelation that the fugitive had left three Cluedo cards (Colonel Mustard, with the lead piping in the hallway) in his abandoned Ford Corsair in 1974. The extraordinary disclosure was based on leaked details of a secret Scotland Yard review of the case. The forensic scoop was followed up around the globe. Wright’s memorable year also featured a riveting two-page investigation into a coke-snorting, sex addict rape detective who spent seven years suspended on full pay before being dismissed. Through his unrivalled police and legal contacts, Wright obtained confidential documents and pictures which exposed a truly shocking Scotland Yard scandal.