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One of Britain’s most wanted men has been arrested at Lisbon Airport after trying to enter the country with a forged passport. 

Alleged drugs trafficker and money launderer Alex Male was reportedly held as he got off a flight from Turkish capital Istanbul. 

The Portuguese Borders and Immigration Service (SEF) has confirmed a 30-year-old British fugitive was arrested on Saturday night. 

It said in a statement: ‘After collecting the biometric data and consulting the databases available to the SEF, a positive alert was raised about an individual in the Interpol database.

‘In addition to confirming the nationality of the citizen, it was also discovered that an international arrest warrant was pending.’

Male, from Weston-super-Mare, north Somerset, was named as one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives by the National Crime Agency in January.

Detectives revealed at the time he was suspected of using an encrypted communications platform to distribute drugs across the region. 

Male skipped bail in December 2020 and reportedly fled to Spain to avoid justice.

The NCA said alongside a mugshot picture of Male it released earlier this year: ‘Alleged to be a regional distributor of drugs across the south west of England, buying and selling drugs and managing other distributors who operated under his instruction using the EncroChat encrypted communications network. 

Male was nabbed at Lisbon Airport (pictured in June 2021) after trying to use a forged passport

Male was nabbed at Lisbon Airport (pictured in June 2021) after trying to use a forged passport

Male was nabbed at Lisbon Airport (pictured in June 2021) after trying to use a forged passport

‘He is accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine and ketamine, money laundering, conspiracy to acquire a firearm.’ 

It added: ‘At around 6ft tall, Male has a number of distinctive tattoos including a skull on his Adam’s apple and a full sleeve on his left arm with a family tree. 

‘Love’ is tattooed on his left hand along with a swallow and he has three stars tattooed on his left wrist. ‘He also has a full tribal sleeve tattoo on his right arm going onto his chest with an angel on his back and ‘live’ tattooed on his right hand.’ 

Steve Reynolds, the NCA’s regional manager in Spain where Male was thought to have been hiding out, said at the time: ‘Alex Male is suspected of using EncroChat to orchestrate drug deals with crime groups across the South West of England. 

‘This type of criminality has a devastating impact on our communities, and he needs to face justice.’ 

It was thought he was lying low in the upmarket Costa del Sol resort of Marbella. 

But local reports in Portugal confirmed by well-placed sources said he has been arrested after flying into Lisbon from Istanbul. 

The NCA has yet to update its website.

Convicted drugs trafficker Joshua Hendry was named as one of twelve fugitives believed to be on the run with Male in Spain (Mugshot handout, January 2022)

Convicted drugs trafficker Joshua Hendry was named as one of twelve fugitives believed to be on the run with Male in Spain (Mugshot handout, January 2022)

Convicted drugs trafficker Joshua Hendry was named as one of twelve fugitives believed to be on the run with Male in Spain (Mugshot handout, January 2022)

Male, due to be taken to court in Lisbon later today for a behind-closed-doors extradition hearing where he will be asked if he consents to being flown back to Britain, is still showing up on it as a man who remains on the run. 

Convicted drugs trafficker Joshua Hendry, named as one of the 12 fugitives believed to be on the run in Spain alongside Male, was held 24 hours after the January appeal was made. 

He was arrested in San Pedro de Alcantara near Marbella after being recognised by an off-duty Spanish officer. 

Hendry, 31, from Walton, Liverpool, was extradited and jailed for five years and three months at Sheffield Crown Court last month after pleading guilty to supply heroin and crack cocaine and to a charge of absconding. 

That was on top of the 10-year sentence he was given in 2020 when he was convicted in his absence of conspiracy to supply cocaine. 

Hendry began serving his original sentence after his extradition and was charged with additional drug offences as part of the same investigation and with absconding.

Source: DUK News

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