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

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

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 16, 2015, 16:47 PM IST

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

Police detained Michael Roden, also known by his nickname "Dodge", and six other suspects earlier this month in the southwestern province of Granada, a police spokesman said.

Roden, a suspected member of an organised crime group, is wanted by British police in connection with the importation of 70 kilos (155 pounds) of cannabis into Britain from Spain in 2013.

He was convicted in October 2010 in Britain of large-scale production of cannabis and jailed for three years.

Roden, who is originally from Redditch, Worcestershire was released early the following year failed to meet his probation conditions and is wanted for recall into prison.

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

Spanish police detained Roden and the six other suspects -- three men and three women  -- between October 4 and 11 as part of a probe into an organisation suspected of smuggling marijuana into several European Union nations, mainly Britain.

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

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

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

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.