A suspected British drug trafficker has been arrested in Marbella.
Christopher Mealey, 38, from London, was captured following a joint operation involving the Spanish National Police, National Crime Agency (NCA) and Metropolitan Police.
Armed officers swooped this week while he was walking along the Paseo Maritimo – a popular beachfront tourist hotspot.
Mealey was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant and appeared at the Spanish National Court in Madrid yesterday (Wednesday 25 June). Extradition proceedings are now underway.
He is the 60th fugitive to be caught out of 76 publicised through Operation Captura – a multi-agency initiative between Crimestoppers, the NCA and the Spanish authorities.
Mealey is wanted by the Metropolitan Police in connection with an investigation into the importation of millions of pounds worth of cocaine. His father-in-law John Reed and six others have already received jail terms totalling over 130 years.
Hank Cole, Head of International Operations for the NCA, said, “Mealey thought he could evade capture by fleeing to Spain and using false identity documents but we were able to track him down. It demonstrates the NCA and its partners have the capability to pursue fugitives relentlessly.”
Inspector Olga Lizana, from the Spanish National Police Fugitives Unit, said, “Cooperation between Spain and the UK on fugitive operations has never been better. This arrest once again demonstrates that sooner or later any British fugitives hiding out in Spain will be caught.”
One of the 16 remaining fugitives on the Operation Captura list is Daniel Bowes (see picture), who is wanted in connection with the same investigation.
Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Staff, from the Metropolitan Police, said, “We continue to appeal for information on the whereabouts of Daniel Bowes in connection with our long running investigation.
“We urgently require the help of the public both in the UK and abroad to trace him and we will treat any information provide to the Metropolitan Police Service, the National Crime Agency or Crimestoppers in the strictest of confidence.”
For people calling from Spain with information on Bowes, or any of the other Operation Captura fugitives, there is a Spanish freephone number – 900 555 111 – which is answered in the UK by Crimestoppers’ call agents. A translation service is also available for Spanish speakers.
People can also pass on information anonymously via a UK number – 0800 555 111 – and online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org