A heavily-tattooed British organised crime boss has been arrested in a state of undress during a multi-agency raid on a property in Lithuania.
James Mulvey – who headed up a gang involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and VAT fraud – was detained half naked on Tuesday after police executed a European Arrest Warrant at a house in the south-central city of Kaunas.
During the operation, officers found two bullet-proof vests. At a separate location, investigators recovered a Glock pistol and over 100 rounds of ammunition.
The 40-year-old gangster from Solihull was held alongside five other people as a result of a joint investigation conducted by officers from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), HM Revenue & Customs and the West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team, who had all been working closely with the Financial Crime Investigation Service in Lithuania.
Mulvey was wanted for questioning over the 2007 seizure of 20kgs of cocaine, 365kgs of cannabis and 10kgs of phenacetin, a painkiller that was banned in the US in 1983 because of its links to cancer and kidney damage. Drug traffickers often use phenacetin to cut high-purity cocaine before selling it on.
Police have successfully prosecuted five people in connection with the seizure. They were jailed for a total of 88 years in 2009.
The legal process to extradite Mulvey back to the UK to face charges began when he appeared before a Lithuanian court yesterday.
NCA Operations Manager Adam Warnock said: “The NCA’s international partnerships mean we can extend the UK’s reach overseas to combat criminal networks and the serious financial crime which props them up.
“James Mulvey has been targeted by the NCA, the West Midlands RART and HMRC as we believe he heads a crime group involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and a multi-million pound VAT fraud. Our investigation is ongoing.”
Mulvey is believed to have had close links to the notorious Kinahan cartel from Ireland, according to a report from the Irish Independent.
Police suspect the shipment of drugs he was wanted for questioning over was destined for Ireland, and was being smuggled as part of a partnership between Mulvey’s organisation and the Kinahan clan.
The UK’s participation in the European Arrest Warrant system that resulted in Mulvey’s detention was called into question this week when British ministers said they may end intelligence sharing with the rest of the EU after Brexit.
European Arrest Warrants have resulted in the capture of a UK cocaine baron who was convicted of planning to flood Britain’s streets with drugs worth as much as €69.22 million, and a serial paedophile who preyed on children as young as 10 for three decades. Both men were apprehended in Spain, which has long been a popular destination for UK fugitives keen to avoid arrest.