Police in Spain have arrested an Irishman wanted in connection with a murdered journalist after he was linked with a drug-trafficking group that sent marijuana and narcotics by post to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The arrest was conducted under international cooperation between the Spanish National Police, Irish Police and the National Crime Agency.
They started their investigations last year after they discovered the criminal group’s presence in the province of Alicante, famous for its 120-mile stretch of the Costa Blanca located in the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia.
Six people were detained in the operation including the Irishman who has not been named but who is suspected of being the head of the crime group.
Irish authorities “link his organisation with the murder of a journalist which occurred in 1996 in the outskirts of Dublin where she was gunned down by two individuals who followed her on a motorcycle”.
They did not name the journalist, however, in 1996 Irish investigative journalist Veronica Guerin was followed by a man on a motorbike who shot her six times before speeding away.
The killing was described as “an attack on democracy” by An Taoiseach John Bruton who was one of those that attended her funeral as it was broadcast live.
Drug kingpin John Gilligan was later jailed for ordering the killing, which resulted in a change in the approach to tackling organised crime with the formation of the Criminal Assets Bureau in Ireland and has assisted in the arrests of countless criminal gang members since.
The video of the latest arrest shows the moment agents from the National Police raided a home where an older man is seen lying flat on the ground and detained.
It cuts to show two officers discovering a Python Colt revolver, which matches the characteristics of the weapon used to carry out the murder of the journalist, using a metal detector and a gardening hoe.
The gun was buried in a garden and Spanish and Irish authorities are now investigating whether it is the same weapon.
Later in the video officers are seen opening packages, apparently ready to be delivered, containing children’s dolls which have marijuana and pills inside.
The suspect is then taken into custody before the video shows another raid resulting in another of the arrests.
Spanish National Police said they intercepted four post shipments containing four kilograms of marijuana and 15,000 pills which were “hypnotic medication”.
It added that the “investigation has culminated in the total dismantling of the criminal organisation” resulting in six arrests during four raids.
The same report added that Spanish and Irish police thwarted an “arms delivery in Ireland” where some of the group’s members were.
An additional “four kilograms of packaged marijuana, 11,000 pills, two vehicles, ten mobile phones, diverse financial and mail documents, packaging material” and three 9mm guns “armed and ready to use” were found during the raids.
Initial investigations show the group “specialised in sending narcotics abroad” and avoided detection by hiding “the drugs inside the packages which were sent to Ireland and the United Kingdom”.
The alleged crime boss is reported to have served 17 years in prison from a 28-year sentence in 2001. He was found guilty of importing “large amounts of hash to Ireland”.
Picture: Spanish National Police/Newsflash