British couple facing international drug charges lose appeal over US extradition

A BRITISH couple wanted in the US to face international drugs charges have lost an appeal against their extradition.

Brian Howes, 47, and his wife, Kerry Ann 33, are being sought by US authorities investigating crystal meth production.

The couple, from Bo’ness, near Falkirk, face trial in Arizona on charges of conspiring to import chemicals into the US, knowing that they would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, a controlled drug.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The pair, who have been fighting moves to send them overseas for around four years, appealed against official orders made in Scotland in 2008, which paved the way for their extradition to the US. They argued in part that their extradition would breach their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Three senior judges at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh upheld certain aspects of their appeal today but ruled that the extradition should still go ahead.

In a written judgment which refers to the couple as “Mr and Mrs H”, Lord Osborne, sitting with Lord Reed and Lord Mackay of Drumadoon, said: “The offences to which the extradition requests relate are of an extremely serious nature. To recap, Mr and Mrs H are alleged to have sold chemicals to customers in the United States, knowing that they would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, a controlled drug, and deliberately mislabelling the chemicals in order to avoid detection.

“The highly dangerous nature of methamphetamine is reflected in the fact that it has since 2007 been classified in the United Kingdom as a class A drug.”

The decision follows protracted legal proceedings at both Sheriff Court and High Court level in this case, dating back to early 2007.