A FEARED Mexican cartel boss lived a ‘no frills’ life among expats on the Costa del Sol years before being arrested, it has emerged.
Known only as Said R, the paranoid boss was the suspected head of the Los Zetas cartel’s operations in Europe for seven years.
Sources have now revealed how he went to extreme measures to avoid capture across Malaga province, and how he was able to enjoy trips to Africa, Colombia, Europe and even sneak in a World Cup match in Qatar.
The Los Zetas gang have been described by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as “the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and violent of these paramilitary enforcement groups”. They are known for their brutal tactics in Mexico, including mass killings, beheadings, kidnappings and torture.
Said allegedly took over the European arm of the business in 2016, when his then boss Juan Manuel Muñoz Luevano – aka Mono Muñoz – was arrested in Madrid for allegedy trafficking huge amounts of cocaine into the Basque Country.
Unfortunately for Said, a raid on his boss’s home uncovered a laptop which contained detailed invoices of he and his colleague’s €63million worth of drug deals.
Although they were only listed under their nicknames, Gallito and Hermano, the Policia Nacional force immediately attributed the latter to Said, who had always had a very close relationship with head honcho Muñoz.
According to the documents, Said, aka Sami, on one occasion made €2.5million in just six days when he trafficked up to 700kilos of cocaine into Europe.
With Muñoz out of action, Said rose to the fore and is believed to have led the cartel’s Europe operation until he was finally cuffed by police in Madrid this summer.
He was arrested following a joint operation between Spanish, Colombian and US auhtorities in the super exclusive neighbourhood of La Moraleja in Madrid – which counts dozens of football players as neighbours, including Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric.
Said, 54, had two homes in Madrid and was ‘feared by everyone’ due to his violent nature.
But before settling in the capital, he set up shop along the Costa del Sol and reportedly went out of his way to make life extremely difficult for those tracking him.
He lived in a modest home on Calle Nuñez Balboa in Fuengirola, a town packed with British expats.
However he also had a chalet in Mijas, which he used to entertain many of his ‘girlfriends’, reports La Opinion de Malaga.
Sources told the newspaper how they had rarely tracked anyone who took so many precautions.
He held several meetings each day and always travelled far away from home, no matter their importance.
Said would drive to Badajoz, Valencia, Murcia and beyond for business discussions as short as 20 minutes.
He would mostly meet in roadside bars and local tapas joints, one of his favourites being in Guarroman in Jaen, a three-hour drive from Fuengirola.
Said regularly made appointments at 5am and used up to seven cars to avoid detection, all registered from different European countries.
Whether he was running an errand or closing a deal, he would make sure to use several different vehicles in the same day, and often drove around for hours for no reason, just to see if anyone was tracking him.
According to sources, he could drive 800km for a 20-minute meeting.
The majority of his phone calls were taken while moving in a car or in areas with poor signal, including next to the Fuente de Piedra Lagoon in deep inland Malaga.
When he was arrested this summer, police found eight SIM cards hidden in his phone case.
Despite being among the most wanted men in the world, the dual Spanish national enjoyed holidays outside of Spain, including to his native Morocco.
He also visited Holland and Dubai and even went to the World Cup in Qatar to watch Morocco V Spain.
Said mostly visited Colombia, however, according to sources, where he was able to move ‘like a fish in water’ throughout the likes of Cali and Bogota.