One of the UK’s most wanted men has been arrested after trying to fly to Portugal on a fake passport.
Alex Male, 29, was detained at Lisbon airport after arriving from Turkey, where he had been refused entry.
He allegedly distributed of class A drugs across southwest England, buying and selling using an EncroChat encrypted communications network.
Male is also accused of money laundering and conspiring to buy a gun as part of his drug dealing, which involved supplying cocaine and ketamine.
He went on the run in the Marbella area of Spain in January after being arrested by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and was added to the National Crime Agency’s most wanted list.
He will now be extradited to the UK.
Phil Robinson, NCA international liaison officer, said: “Male naively believed he could travel across international borders using fraudulent documentation and remain undetected by law enforcement.
“But he underestimated the vigilance and expertise of the Turkish border police, which enabled the Portuguese authorities to act.
“Any arrest of a fugitive is a fantastic result, even more so since Male had only recently been added to our most wanted list. He is wanted in connection with dangerous crimes, which have a devastating impact on communities, so I’m delighted he has been caught.”
Detective Inspector Adrian Hawkins, from the organised crime unit, said his arrest brings to end a “long period of investigation”.
“Male will now be returned to the Criminal Justice System in the UK to face the charges he ran away from,” he said.
“This is an example of international law enforcement working together to ensure justice can be done and demonstrating there is nowhere safe to hide.”
Anyone with information about one of the Most Wanted is urged to call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.