Taxi and resort raids led to the capture of ‘most wanteds’

The past year saw a number of overseas arrests as detectives worked with colleagues across the world to track down fugitives linked to investigations connected to the region.

Dramatic swoops saw suspects detained in a host of settings – from being pulled from a Dutch taxi to being taken from resorts on the Costa del Sol.

Many have since been extradited back to the UK – or are in the process of being returned.

This is an overview of some of those arrests carried out on behalf of local detectives.

Robert Brazendale

Robert Brazendale was held by police in Spain
Robert Brazendale was held by police in Spain

Alleged gun runner Brazendale was extradited to the UK from Spain as part of a National Crime Agency investigation.

The 33-year-old was returned to the UK in mid-December, appearing before Warrington Magistrates’ Court on December 18.

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Brazendale, from Warrington, was arrested in Estepona on the Costa del Sol in October on a European Arrest Warrant.

He has been charged with conspiracy to possess firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

The NCA launched its investigation earlier this year as part of Operation Venetic – sparked by the mass hack of the EncroChat communications network.

(Image: NCA)

In April officers seized an AK47 assault rifle hidden in a commercial building in Warrington before finding Uzi and Skorpion sub machine guns, 300 rounds of ammo, £180,000 cash and a kilogram of cocaine in London.

Officers have since seized a second AK47 from an address in Manchester and dug up a stash of guns and ammunition from a Warrington garden.

Jamie Rothwell

Jamie Rothwell, 34 and from Salford, was arrested in Amsterdam on behalf of the NCA and Cheshire Police. He is the subject of allegations linked to a shooting in Warrington. Image: NCA
(Image: Liverpool ECHO)

Rothwell was stopped travelling through Amsterdam in a taxi within days of being made the subject of an EAW.

Cheshire Police obtained the warrant for the 34 -year-old in relation to nine alleged offences – including two counts of conspiring to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, two counts of conspiring to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.

He is now in custody awaiting extradition proceedings after the NCA worked with the Dutch authorities to track him down in December.

Rothwell’s arrest relates to a shooting in the Orford area of Warrington on April 24.

A 55-year-old man sustained serious and life-changing injuries to his leg.

Rothwell also faces the charges of conspiracy to supply ketamine and cannabis, and acquiring criminal property.

Tony McCann

Tony McCann, 26, of Almond Close, Halewood
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

McCann was jailed for six years for his part in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The 26-year-old, of Almond Close, Halewood, flew to Spain when officers recovered a kilo of cocaine which he had arranged to be transported to Plymouth back in October 2018.

(Image: NWROCU)

He was arrested on an EAW in Estepona in October of this year and later pleaded guilty to the offences.

The drug seizure was linked to a gang headed by notorious 30-year-old Liam Cornett, of Roby Road, Huyton, known as the Lam.

Leon Cullen

Leon Cullen is facing extradition back to the UK
Cheshire police wish to speak to Leon Cullen in relation to an on-going investigation into organised crime

Cullen was one of Cheshire Constabulary’s most wanted men before he was detained on an international arrest warrant in January.

Then 31, his arrest followed an extensive operation carried out by officers in the constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, and was supported by the NCA, North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, Interpol and police authorities in Dubai.

Cullen was arrested on suspicion of “conspiracy to supply and possess firearms and drugs in the Warrington area”.

Mark Fitzgibbon

Mark Fitzgibbon: The Liverpool criminal who has been on the run for 12 years

Fitzgibbon was wanted on recall to prison when he was arrested at Liverpool John Lennon Airport in July.

The 49-year-old, who is originally from Liverpool, was convicted of conspiring to supply Class B Drugs in 1999 at Teesside Crown Court and sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

He was recalled to prison in 2004.

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “We know Fitzgibbon was abroad for a while but like many fugitives he wrongly believed he could evade capture.

There is no safe haven for fugitives and time is no barrier to the pursuit of justice.

“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners across the world to pursue these individuals.”

Lynton Skeete

Skeete, of Egrement Promenade in Wallasey, was arrested in Spain as part of a drugs investigation led by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Officers from the Spanish National Police arrested the 45-year-old in Marbella on an EAW in July.

The warrant was issued as part of the unit’s probe into a suspected 2018 drugs conspiracy.

After appearing in court in Spain, he was extradited to the UK and charged with conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

Liverpool Echo – Liverpool News