Liverpool

Fugitive drugs smuggler Gerard Hagan arrested in Spain

A Liverpool man who was jailed for 10 years for his part in a plot to smuggle £345m of drugs into Ireland has been arrested in Spain.

Gerard Hagan, 29, was jailed in 2008 after an inflatable boat loaded with cocaine overturned off the Irish coast.

The engine of the inflatable failed after one of the gang filled the fuel tank with diesel instead of petrol.

Hagan was moved from an Irish jail to England in 2010. He escaped from HMP Kirkham in Lancashire in July 2012.

The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) confirmed Hagan was captured by Spanish police on Thursday after leaving a gym in the Estepona area of the Costa del Sol.

'Pursue fugitives relentlessly'

During his trial, the court heard a catamaran was used to bring the drugs from Barbados. They were then transferred to the smaller vessel.

Hit by strong winds and 3m swells, the inflatable capsized after the engine cut out.

The court was told "some idiot" had put diesel into the engine instead of petrol.

Bales of cocaine were left floating in the sea. It was the biggest drugs bust in Irish history.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued by Lancashire Police after Hagan fled last year.

Dave Allen, from the NCA, said: "This arrest is a result of close working with the Spanish national police. It demonstrates the NCA and its partners have the capability to pursue fugitives relentlessly."

Hagan admitted his part in the plot at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in 2008. Former policeman Michael Daly and his brother Joe, Perry Wharrie and another man, Martin Wanden, were also convicted of involvement in the plot.

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