Spain detains suspected drug smuggler on Britain's most-wanted list

16th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police said Monday they have arrested a suspected British drug trafficking boss who is listed among Britain's 10 most wanted fugitives.

Police detained Michael Roden along with six other suspected members of a drug trafficking ring earlier this month in the province of Granada in southwestern Spain, a police spokesman said.

Roden, also known by his nickname "Dodge", is wanted by British police in connection with the importation of 70 kilos (155 pounds) of cannabis into Britain from Spain in 2013.

The 26-year-old was convicted in October 2010 in Britain of large-scale production of cannabis and jailed for three years.

He was released early the following year, but failed to meet his probation conditions and is wanted for recall into prison.

Police detained Roden in the village of Alomartes, a 45-minute drive west of the city of Granada, on November 4 as part of a probe into a ring that smuggled marijuana into several European nations, mainly Britain.

The three men and three women held along with Roden include Chilean, Georgian, Romanian and Spanish nationals.

"The drugs, which was of a high quality and vacuum packed, was transported using different types of vehicles, such as campers, trucks, high-powered cars," police said in a statement.

Police seized 30 kilos of marijuana as part of their operations as well as several guns and cars and over 85,000 euros ($91,500) in cash.

Roden and the six other suspects were charged with membership in a criminal organisation, drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal arms possession and document falsification.

He appears on a list of Britain's 10 most wanted fugitives put together by Crimestoppers, a police-backed British charity that appeals for help in solving crimes.

Roden, who is from Redditch, was arrested as part of Operation Captura, a joint campaign by Spanish and British police to detain people in Spain who are suspected of committing crimes in Britain.

His arrest "marks yet another success for Operation Captura and highlights the effectiveness of the campaign in flushing out fugitives," Dave Allen, the head of the fugitives unit at Britain's National Crime Agency, said.

Spain's southern Costa del Sol -- once dubbed the "Costa del Crime" -- has been known as a hideaway for British criminals in the past, especially in the late 1970s and 80s when there were no extradition agreements with Britain.

But the situation changed in 2004 with European arrest warrants, making it easier to bring British criminals back to face justice.

An estimated one million British nationals live in Spain all or part of the year, according to the British embassy.

© 2015 AFP

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