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UK coke king busted in Benidorm

Spanish police said on Monday they had arrested a notorious British drug dealer, Brian Charrington, whom they accused of running an international trafficking racket involving cocaine from Venezuela.

UK coke king busted in Benidorm
British media has referred to Charrington as a major drug baron active since the 1980s. Photo: Policia Nacional

Police arrested 13 people overall in Spain and Venezuela, including Charrington, "one of the 10 criminals most investigated by European police and leader of an international drug-trafficking organisation", a police statement said.

Officers seized 220 kilos (485 pounds) of cocaine hidden in an apartment in L'Albir, near the eastern resort city of Benidorm, and impounded property and bank accounts worth more than €5 million ($6.5 million), it added.

The statement said police would give more details of the arrests at a news conference on Tuesday.

Check out The Local's top ten weird drug busts.

Charrington operated in the North East of England during the 1980s and rose to notoriety in 1992 when a raid at his Middlesbrough home unearthed almost €2.3 million in cash, allegedly linked to drug dealing.

British media has referred to Charrington as a major drug baron active since the 1980s.

Charrington's arrest comes just over a week after Mark 'Fatboy' Lilley, a convicted British drug trafficker who had been on the run for 13 years, was caught by Spanish police hiding in a panic room.

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VENEZUELA

Spain refuses to hand over opposition figure to Venezuela

The Spanish government said Thursday it would not hand over Venezuelan opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez, who is wanted by authorities in Caracas but has taken refuge in Madrid's embassy in Caracas.

Spain refuses to hand over opposition figure to Venezuela
Photo: AFP

The government “does not envisage in any circumstances handing over Leopoldo Lopez to the Venezuelan authorities nor asking him to leave the ambassador's residence”, the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement.   

Lopez emerged on Tuesday from two years of house arrest to join opposition leader Juan Guaido at a demonstration as the National Assembly president tried to incite a military uprising against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.   

Later that day, Lopez sought refuge in the Chilean embassy with his wife and daughter before moving to the Spanish embassy.   

Lopez was first arrested in 2014 and accused of inciting violent protests against the government. He was handed a nearly 14-year sentence in 2015 and then transferred to house arrest in 2017. 

Madrid published the statement following a meeting between the Spanish ambassador and Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.    

It said that Spain wanted to “find a solution as quickly as possible” but stressed that, under international law, diplomatic residences were inviolable.    

Lopez's wife Lilian Tintori claimed on Twitter on Wednesday that their house had been robbed and ransacked while they were away.   

In statements made at the Spanish ambassador's residence on Thursday, Lopez said that the attempted uprising was “part of a process — it's a crack that will become a bigger crack… that will end up breaking the dam.”

READ MORE: Spain insists fresh elections 'only way out' of Venezuela crisis

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