Police have arrested two Britons and an Irishman on suspicion of shooting a ‘partner-in-crime’ following a Costa del Sol drugs dispute.
One of the men was arrested in Marbella, Malaga, after a spectacular armed raid in which police used a battering ram to smash down the doors of a luxury mansion.
Footage showed them then pinning a bare-chested suspect thought to be the Irishman to the ground and taking him away in handcuffs after seizing the gun, bullets and silencer used in the shooting.
The other suspects were held at separate addresses where they were also filmed being marched away by elite cops.
The Spanish police said the suspects and British victim are accused of belonging to the same drug trafficking organisation operating in the Costa del Sol.
In May 2019, the 27-year-old British victim was admitted to hospital in Marbella with bullet wounds to both legs, according to a police statement.
The Spanish police said that a 29-year-old Irishman accompanied the victim to hospital, claiming that he found him in the street already injured.
The Irish suspect told the police where the incident took place, but investigators discovered that the shooting actually happened nearly four miles (six kilometres) away, according to reports.
The shooting, on May 25, is said to have left the victim permanently disabled after he was also kneecapped in an alleged warning by members of his own British-led gang.
The 27-year-old victim, who has not been named, is understood to have left Spain and flown back to the UK after being released from hospital.
He did not co-operate with Spanish investigators and also told them he was the victim of a mugging.
Police have arrested two Britons and an Irishman on suspicion of shooting a ‘partner-in-crime’ following a Costa del Sol drugs dispute
One of the men was arrested after a spectacular armed raid in which police used a battering ram to smash down the doors of a luxury mansion
The weapon used to shoot him, a semi-automatic pistol, as well as a silencer and the blood-specked jersey of the suspect who fired the gun, were seized during police raids.
The incident was investigated early by an elite police unit set up to combat organised crime.
The unnamed Irishman took the British victim to A&E at Marbella’s Costa del Sol Hospital in the early hours of May 25 in a high-end car believed to be a Mercedes.
The shooting occurred a week after a new easing of coronavirus lockdown measures in the area which saw bar terraces re-opening for the first time in more than two months.
Confirming the three arrests on Tuesday, a Spanish National Police spokesman said: ‘National Police officers have arrested three people suspected of injuring a fourth man with several shots to his legs.
Footage showed them then pinning a bare-chested suspect thought to be the Irishman to the ground and taking him away in handcuffs after seizing the gun, bullets and silencer used in the shooting
The other suspects were held at separate addresses where they were also filmed being marched away by elite cops
‘One of the detainees pretended to have found him injured in the street and even took him to hospital, with the aim of diverting investigators’ attention from those who were responsible for the crime.
‘Police have found the pistol used to shoot him as well as a silencer and 140 cartridges.
‘The shooting was a revenge drugs trafficking-related crime that occurred in Marbella.
‘The investigation has shown that the alleged authors of the crime and the victim both belonged to the same drugs trafficking gang.’
The shooting, on May 25, is said to have left the victim permanently disabled after he was also kneecapped in an alleged warning by members of his own British-led gang. Pictured: The raid was filmed by the cops
Officers are understood to have tracked the vehicles used by the suspects, including the Mercedes the injured man was driven to hospital in, so they could work out what really occurred.
The police spokesman said the shooting happened around four miles from the spot where the victim claimed to have been hurt.
He added: ‘Two of the detainees are British nationals aged 23 and 24 and the other is a 29-year-old Irishman.
‘The Irishman is the person who accompanied the victim to hospital and pretended he was co-operating with investigators to deviate their attention from what had really happened and who was responsible.
‘On more than one occasion he accompanied the police to the spot where he said the incident had happened, and he even pretended he was helping investigators look for traces of blood, knowing they would never find them there.
Confirming the three arrests on Tuesday, a Spanish National Police spokesman said: ‘National Police officers have arrested three people suspected of injuring a fourth man with several shots to his legs
‘Presuming the investigators would never suspect the person who took the gunshot victim to hospital, it was agreed the weapon used in the crime would be hidden at his home.’
All three men have been remanded in prison following a closed court hearing. The investigation is ongoing.
The arrests for the shooting come after a string of violent crimes on the Costa del Sol.
Hours after lockdown restrictions were eased in May, police arrested six Britons including a fugitive alleged drug dealer following a ‘Wild West’ bar fight in which another man was left with his ‘guts hanging out’ in a stabbing.
The wanted man was later identified as Zathon Dale Williams, 28, from Bedworth, Warwickshire, who went on the run ahead of a no-show at Warwick Magistrates Court last September.
And at the start of the June, a man was killed in a shocking broad-daylight shooting in Marbella.
In the footage of the raid a pistol, silencer and bullets were found in a drawer underneath a bed
Footage shot by a bystander showed the victim lying on his side on a zebra crossing near the beach in a residential street popular with wealthy expats and locals and holiday home owners.
He was later identified as a Bosnian who had served time in jail for drugs offences.
The day of the targeted assassination, police revealed more details about the suspects arrested recently over the murder of British businessman Peter Andrew Williamson in nearby Riviera del Sol in Mijas last November.
One of the Brits was arrested at his home on an upmarket residential estate near Murcia, in south-east Spain, in May.
In their first official comments since the detentions, police said the two men arrested had flown to Barcelona and hired a car before travelling to the Costa del Sol to target Mr Williamson.
The Civil Guard added in a statement: ‘The careful selection of the time and location to commit the murder shows their criminal experience, cold blood and dangerousness.
‘One of the authors of the crime was arrested in the UK and sent to prison for previous crimes he had committed in Britain.
‘He is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant so the Spanish courts can try him for the killing carried out here.
‘The other detainee was moving around other European countries and South America for five months.
‘He returned to Spain when the coronavirus-linked state of alarm was declared and settled in a small village in Murcia.
‘He was arrested there at a house used to prepare the shipping of cannabis resin.’
Investigators have linked Mr Williamson’s murder to a deadly drugs war between rival gangs.