POLICE in Spain have arrested a fugitive Irish gang leader believed to work with Colombian cartels to smuggle cocaine into Britain.
The 49-year-old has been held at his Costa del Sol home along with a tonne of cocaine, three handguns and €100,000 in cash.
The detained man has been sought by police in Ireland for more than 20 years following a high profile cannabis bust there, according to the Irish Sun.
“This guy is considered a major criminal in the south, but he hasn’t been seen in the country for years.
“It was known that he had fled to England and was involved with other drug barons there, but he was importing drugs primarily for the UK market and was not of interest to Gardai.
“However, if he ever returns here, he will be arrested and questioned over the 1998 seizure,” a source told the newspaper.
Spanish police’s elite GRECO unit carried out the arrest which came ten days after the fugitive escaped a similar raid following a suspected tip-off.
The Irishman is considered to head a gang working with Colombians to import cocaine via Spain, after Policia Nacional tracked key cartel figures.
The operation has seen a total of 16 suspects held in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and in London, Windsor and Dorset.
Spanish police have so far not commented on the arrest, though it is understood they consider the operation closed.