UK drugs suspect arrested in Greek bar in joint sting operation

A 50-year-old British man suspected of cocaine and amphetamine smuggling has been arrested in Greece after officers staked out a seaside bar near Athens that he visited to watch the Lions-Australia rugby match.

Police said Kevin Hanley was arrested on Saturday in connection with a November 2012 drug seizure in Fulham, west London, police said on Tuesday.

Hanley, who is from Fulham, was arrested on a European warrant issued in Britain, together with a 44-year-old Greek woman who was not named by Greek authorities. They were wanted by British authorities on charges of money laundering and intent to supply narcotics.

Greek police said Hanley had taken «extensive precautions» to try to avoid arrest, with frequent changes of address, telephones and cars and by using several dual SIM mobile phones and coded text messages.

Greek police made the arrest in collaboration with Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (Soca) and Scottish police. A team of British officers traveled to Greece before the arrest.

“These arrests were a direct result of our close co-operation with the Greek authorities,» said Brendan Foreman, regional head of investigations at Soca.

British and Greek officers from agencies involved in the investigation said Hanley was apprehended shortly after ordering breakfast at the Molly Malone’s Irish pub, where he had gone to watch coverage of Saturday’s rugby tour decider between the British and Irish Lions and Australia.

The officers asked not to be identified, pending further official announcements in both countries regarding Hanley’s arrest.

In the 2012 seizure, police in Britain recovered 20kg (44.1 pounds) of cocaine, 15kg (33.1 pounds) of cannabis and 15kg of amphetamine, as well as £2.1m in cash.

Five other suspects – four men and one woman – have been arrested in Britain in connection with the seizure.

Hanley had previously been jailed for drug possession in Britain after police found 29kg (63.9 pounds) of cocaine in his car in 1998. [AP]

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