SPANISH police officers swooped in on a fugitive member of a notorious Irish drug cartel as he drank in a pub on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.
Gary Vickery, 38, from Dublin was wanted for his role in a multi-million euro cocaine shipment network run by the Kinahan clan.
He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to import class A and B drugs worth at least €27m into the UK and was due to be sentenced but he fled the country for the Canary Islands.
A warrant was issued for Vickery’s arrest by British police after he failed to appear before Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing, claiming he couldn’t get a PCR test.
On Wednesday, he was finally apprehended by the Guardia Civil at a pub in Lanzarote following a lengthy surveillance operation.
Officers had been monitoring Vickery for several hours while he sat drinking on the bar’s terrace, the Guardia Civil said in a statement released on Friday.
The force released footage of the arrest showing several officers surrounding the fugitive who was dressed in a baseball cap, grey t-shirt and navy shorts.
The Guardia Civil said they first located Vickery at a house in the La Asomada area of the island from where he had been running a boat rental business with his wife since 2017.
Vickery was arrested in 2017 along with two other senior members of the cartel following a four-year investigation by UK police and the Garda’s National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB).
Two other men – Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, 53, a high-level Kinahan member, and Daniel Canning, 42, pleaded guilty to the charges last year.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) was involved in the operation. Deputy Director Matt Horne said in a statement: “Vickery was given ample opportunity to return to the UK following his guilty plea, but has failed to come back on every occasion.
“We will ensure those who cause harm to the UK though organised crime are held accountable, and this case highlights our tenacity.
“I’d like to thank the NCA officers here in the UK, and our international liaison team in Spain, who have worked closely with colleagues in the Guardia Civil to locate Vickery.”
Vickery appeared before a Spanish Court on Thursday pending extradition proceedings to return him to the UK to face sentencing.
A bitter feud between the Kinahan cartel and rival drug gang led by Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch has spilled onto the streets of Dublin and the Costa del Sol claiming at least 18 lives.
In August, police arrested The Monk after tracking him down to his hide out the Costa del Sol.
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