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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 January 2006, 18:30 GMT
Britons held in Spain drug raids
Crowds on the beach at Benalmadena, Costa del Sol
Police say the alleged ring leaders led a luxurious life in Spain
Ten Britons have been arrested in Spain on suspicion of drug smuggling as part of a major narcotics ring.

The alleged ring leaders include a former policeman, ex-marine and ex-soldier, who used their expertise to evade capture, Spanish police said.

The group, based in Costa del Sol, is accused of shipping drugs to Britain.

The joint operation by Spanish and UK police has seen a total of 34 people held and 3.8 tonnes of cannabis seized in raids in cities in both countries.

Property companies

A total of 12 people were arrested in Spain.

They included three Britons and a Spaniard, aged between 38 and 50, arrested at Huelva; a 30-year-old Briton at Fuengirola; two Britons aged 30 and 36 at San Pedro de Alcantara; four Britons aged between 43 and 59 and a 64-year-old Spaniard at Marbella.

Spanish police said the operation, launched last October, had been particularly difficult because the leaders had used their experience to lecture other ring members on police investigation techniques.

Investigators also believe the group used property companies to launder the proceeds of the drug sales.

Country profile: Spain
11 Jan 06 |  Country profiles

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