AN IRISHMAN who fled Britain for Spain after admitting his involvement in the shipment of more than £23m of drugs has been arrested.
Gary Vickery, 38, failed to appear in court in July 2021 and at a subsequent hearing in September.
On Wednesday, he was arrested at a bar in the town of Yaiza in the south of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
Vickery, originally from Dublin, previously admitted to having a leading role in conspiring to import class A and B drugs and money laundering.
#ICYMI: A man wanted by the National Crime Agency for his involvement in the supply of class A drugs worth millions of pounds was arrested in Lanzarote by officers from @guardiacivil as part of a joint operation with the NCA.
— National Crime Agency (NCA) (@NCA_UK) October 24, 2021
However he failed to attend court in July 2021, where he was due to be remanded in custody, and a warrant was later issued for his arrest.
He subsequently failed to surrender to the court again at a further hearing in September 2021.
The Guardia Civil arrested Vickery on Wednesday in a joint operation with the National Crime Agency (NCA).
"Vickery was given ample opportunity to return to the UK following his guilty plea, but has failed to come back on every occasion," said NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne.
"We will ensure those who cause harm to the UK though organised crime are held accountable, and this case highlights our tenacity.
"I'd like to thank the NCA officers here in the UK, and our international liaison team in Spain, who have worked closely with colleagues in the Guardia Civil to locate Vickery."
Officers evidenced Vickery's involvement in large-scale drug shipments with a street value of £23m, as well as movements of cash, with two other men.
Thomas Kavanagh, 53, from Tamworth and Daniel Canning, 42, originally from Dublin, are currently in custody awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiring to import class A and B drugs and money laundering.
Canning also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition.
Vickery appeared before a Spanish court on Thursday and extradition proceedings for his return to Britain are under way.