Suspected major British drug smuggler caught in Amsterdam

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Armed police have arrested an alleged major drug smuggler in Amsterdam who is wanted in Britain, the British Embassy said on Thursday.

"Craig Allen, 50, was captured by a team of armed officers as he left a furniture store on Tuesday," a statement said.

Police subsequently found four kilos of what is believed to be cocaine and 500,000 euros (S$845,000) in cash during an apartment search.

Originally from the northern British city of Sheffield, Allen is being sought in connection with seizures of heroin and cocaine dating back to 2010.

"It is believed he orchestrated the importation of drugs while living in Thailand," the embassy said.

The head of Britain's newly-established National Crime Agency's (NCA) fugitives unit Dave Allen said "we believe this man... is involved in the importation and supply of large quantities of drugs."

Also called "Britain's FBI", the NCA was launched earlier this week. It has an annual budget of nearly half-a-billion pounds to tackle organised crime in Britain.

The suspected smuggler's arrest marked the NCA's "first fugitive to be captured abroad", Dave Allen said.

NCA spokesman Rob Williams said that steps were now being taken to have Allen extradited to Britain to face trial.

Last month British and Dutch police in a combined operation arrested four suspected human traffickers and rescued four teenaged girls headed for Britain.

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