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crime gang Irishman arrested in Spain over alleged attempt to extort nearly €100k from businessman

Detectives say he and three Swedes terrorised their victim over a two-week period

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An Irishman has been arrested by Spanish police over his alleged involvement in a bid to extort a business owner out of nearly €100,000.

Costa del Sol detectives say he and three Swedes terrorised their victim over a two-week period, threatening to burn his business premises and kill him and his family if he failed to hand over the cash.

The four men have also been arrested on suspicion of crimes including drug trafficking, unlawful weapons possession and membership of a criminal gang.

Two of the Swedes allegedly fired shots at the victim’s unidentified premises on Saturday, sparking the arrests of two of them near the scene and the detentions of the other two during a subsequent search at another address.

Ammunition similar to that used in the shooting incident and cannabis resin was seized during the raid.

The extortion target has not been named and police have not gone public with his nationality or the identities of the detainees.

A spokesman for the National Police in Malaga, confirming the arrests, said: “National Police have smashed a criminal gang based in Marbella on the Costa del Sol involved in drug trafficking and extortion.

“The investigation has culminated in the arrests of three Swedish nationals and an Irishman for their alleged involvement in crimes of extortion, drugs trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms, explosives and ammunition, resisting arrest and membership of a criminal gang.

“Members of the gang would demand large sums of violence through the use of coercion and threats towards victims and their families.

“On September 11 gang members fired shots at the front of a property owned by a victim, leading to the arrests of two men near the scene after they were intercepted and made violent attempts to resist being held.

“A house search led to the subsequent arrest of the other two members of the organisation.”

The force added in a statement: “The police investigation began at the beginning of September when officers were alerted to the existence of this gang and the fact they were trying to extort cash from a local businessman.

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“He received a visit from several members of the gang demanding one million Swedish Krona (€98,543) and threatening to burn his premises or kill him and his family if he failed to hand over the money in 48 hours.

“The shots fired at his premises led to the arrest of two Swedish nationals near the scene and the detentions of a third Swede and the Irish national in a subsequent house search.

“That property raid led to the seizure of drugs, munition and computer documents.

“The drugs found consisted of 978 grams of cannabis resin and the ammunition consisted of eight 7.65mm cartridges which were the same as the casings found near the attack on the business premises.”

It was not immediately clear on Wednesday if the four men had already appeared before a judge in a closed court hearing.

Well-placed sources said they would expect the suspects to be remanded in custody pending an ongoing investigation because of the serious nature of the allegations they were facing.

It is not known where in Ireland the Irish detainee is from or what his approximate age is.

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