13 Britons held over Spain drug ring

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The Independent Online

Thirteen Britons suspected of running a drug ring have been arrested in Spain, police said today.

Nine men and four women were held as investigators shut down a gang supplying holiday resorts on the Costa Blanca and Ibiza.

Police seized 53,000 ecstasy pills, 100 cannabis plants, cocaine, vehicles, mobile phones and cash.

The gang is suspected of producing and distributing "designer" drugs, such as ecstasy, from a base in Alicante.

One member was arrested as he tried to smuggle thousands of ecstasy pills from the port of Denia to suppliers in Ibiza hidden in the doors of a car, police said.

The gang is also suspected of links to money laundering and identity fraud.

It was targeted by the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which traced British links and operating methods.

A Soca spokesman said the arrests took place in the Torrevieja area of the Costa Blanca on September 27.

The suspects, aged between 22 and 74, are all from the Liverpool area and have been remanded in custody.

Ken Gallagher of Soca said: "This criminal gang was treating the UK as a distribution centre for the drugs they peddled in Spain, harming not only the British community and holidaymakers in Spain but also harming the UK itself through their extended drug dealing."