Fugitive gang leader Izzet Eren arrested in Moldova following manhunt

A man who absconded from prison in Turkey while serving a 21-year-sentence for offences in the UK has been arrested following a joint operation between the Metropolitan Police Service, National Crime Agency and Moldovan authorities.

Izzet Eren, 39, a Turkish national who had been living in London, was detained in Chisinau, Moldova on Thursday, 26 May 2022. Extradition proceedings are now under way in Moldova.

Eren was jailed for 21 years in 2015 for firearms offences. He had been caught in October of that year carrying a loaded pistol and a machine gun in North London, while allegedly on his way to carry out a shooting.

While being transferred to Wood Green Crown Court from jail two months later, an attempt was made to break Eren out of the prison van. Police managed to foil the plot, but fatally shot 28-year-old Jermaine Baker in the process.

Described as, “a senior member of a Turkish crime group”, Eren was also convicted of drugs trafficking offences, resulting in him being deported from Britain.

He had been part of a notorious North London gang known as the Tottenham Boys, which had a long-running feud with a rival group in Hackney. The feud had resulted in murder and numerous shootings in both London and Turkey that date back over a decade.

Eren was caught and convicted of firearms offences after he returned to the UK in breach of a deportation order.

While serving the sentence for his current conviction, he was transferred to a prison in Turkey in August 2019. He absconded from custody a month later.

Commander Fiona Mallon, Specialist Crime, said: “I thank the Moldovan authorities, the National Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service for their assistance in achieving this significant outcome.

The case led to “a hugely complex investigation” to establish Eren’s whereabouts, with the Met Police utilising “sensitive intelligence opportunities” to track the fugitive down.

“The Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Manhunt team works around the clock to track down the criminals ‘most wanted’ by the Met,” said Mallon, adding, “This arrest sends a clear message to all those who commit serious crime in London: if you run, we will locate you and you will be brought to justice.”