By Jo Pugh •
Updated: 02 Aug 2023 • 12:55
The fugitives were arrested on an urbanisation in Calpe. Credit: Guardia Civil
THE Guardia Civil and the Rapid Intervention Team of the National Investigation Office of the Hungarian Police (KR NNI), have arrested three of the most wanted criminals on the run from Hungary.
They were members of a gang dedicated to the manufacture of drugs, using sophisticated technology.
The operation, which enabled the simultaneous capture of three “high-level” organised criminals, was carried out on Wednesday, July 19, in Calpe.
The three detainees, Hungarian citizens, were on the list of Europe’s most wanted criminals at the time of their escape, and were also listed on Europol’s “Most Wanted” page.
The criminal group had created a computer-controlled digital infrastructure for the simultaneous cultivation and processing of several thousand Cannabis sativa (hemp) plants in Bács-Kiskun County (Hungary) in 2020 and 2021, first in Kecele and then in an area near Kecskemet.
The plantation was dismantled on May 21, 2021 by the Debrecen department of the KR NNI, which seized 165 kilogrammes of marijuana, cocaine and assets valued at more than 380 million Hungarian forints.
Investigators were able to identify seven members of the criminal gang, and two of them were arrested in Hungary a short time later.
The Debrecen District Court then issued European and International arrest warrants against the remaining five.
In October 2022, five members of the criminal organisation were included in Europol’s “Game Over” campaign, appearing among the 54 most wanted criminals in Europe.
It was in May 2023 when investigators had indications that three of these fugitives could be hiding on the Costa Blanca, and that, using false identities, they continued to introduce drugs into Hungary, hidden in trucks, with the participation of other compatriots.
For this reason, the KR NNI contacted the Guardia Civil, within the framework of international cooperation in the fight against crime.
The Zala County Prosecutor’s Office, which was supervising the case, requested the assistance of Eurojust (European Union Agency for Cooperation in Criminal Justice).
In addition, the International Cooperation Prosecutor’s Office and the judicial authorities of Alicante supported the work that resulted in the arrests
The authorities request that anyone with information about them should call 112.
The defendants could face life in prison in their home country if proven guilty.
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Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.
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