Spanish cops nab UK’s ‘most wanted’ man

Police on Saturday broke into a hidden anti-assault 'panic room' in a Malaga villa and arrested a 41-year-old British man who had been on the run for over a decade after receiving a 24-year prison sentence for drug dealing.

Spanish cops nab UK's 'most wanted' man
The fugitive eventually gave himself up after realizing that there was no way to escape. Photo: Spanish National Police

A statement from Spain's National Police reported that Mark Alan Lilley was seized on Saturday after a raid on an armoured room behind a camouflaged door.

He was holed up in there with a computer he used to monitor CCTV cameras.

Reports have Lilley living in the Alhaurín de la Torre area of Malaga under a false name.

He is also said to have changed his appearance through tattoos and weight-lifting.

The criminal, originally from Warrington in Cheshire, skipped bail in 2000 after being charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines, cannabis and cannabis resin, and for possession of a firearm.

He was convicted in his absence and sentenced to 24 years in jail.

Since then he has regularly featured in 'Most Wanted' lists published by British tabloid newspapers such as The Sun and crime prevention organizations including Crimestoppers UK.

When Spanish police traced Lilley's suspected location they called on GOES, a Special Security Task Force,  who raided the property.

Two men and two women were found but there was no trace of the suspect.

A thorough search of the villa uncovered a wardrobe with a false door in the main bedroom.

This revealed a security door leading to a 'panic room', a safe place used to take refuge in the case of home invasions.

Video of the arrest of Mark Alan Lilley

Police were unable to open the door but Lilley eventually surrendered after realizing that he had no possible means of escape.

It is believed that guard dogs kept in the garden had alerted Lilley that the raid was underway.

This caused him to bolt the room from where he could monitor proceedings via CCTV cameras.

Lilley was sentenced in Bolton Crown Court in April 2000 in England for offences stretching back to 1997.

He was considered to be the head of a drug trafficking organization.

During the initial police investigation, British officers found drugs worth over £500,000 (€580,000, $740,000) in the property of his female partner, who was also convicted.

A further £250,000 of drugs, a pistol and £2000 in cash were later discovered.

Lilley's trial began in February 2000 but he disappeared after being released on bail.

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Spanish police make ‘biggest ever haul of synthetic drugs’

Spanish police said Friday they had seized a record 827,000 ecstasy tablets as well as other narcotics in what they called "the biggest ever seizure of synthetic drugs" in Spain.

Spanish police make 'biggest ever haul of synthetic drugs'
Police claim the seizure is the biggest in Spanish history. Photo: Guardia Civil and the National Police
In a joint operation, the Guardia Civil and the National Police smashed “the main international criminal organisation behind the production and supply of most of the synthetic drugs in Spain”, they said in a joint statement.
Synthetic drugs are manufactured using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients.
Eleven people were arrested on charges of drug trafficking and belonging to a criminal organisation, including the organisation's Dutch boss.
As well as the ecstasy tabs, police also seized 76 kilos (167 pounds) of speed, 39.5 kilos of crystal meth and 217 litres of liquid amphetamine with which they could have produced 738.5 kilos of speed.
They also impounded almost 400 kilos of hashish and marijuana which they were to have exported to The Netherlands to pay for the purchase of the necessary substances to manufacture the drugs at two labs in Barcelona.
The organisation included traffickers from Spain, The Netherlands, Romania, Colombia and Italy and had bases in Barcelona, the southern city of Malaga and the island of Ibiza, all of which are known for having a vibrant nightlife and many dance clubs.
Although Spain is considered one of the main drug gateways to Europe, seizures of synthetic narcotics are uncommon as most traffickers usually deal in cannabis and cocaine.