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Sources believe the gang planned to kill the 24-year-old and the two Irish men he was with
This is the dramatic moment heavily-armed Spanish police smash their way into the Costa del Sol hideaways of six British criminals accused of the attempted murders of three Irishmen at a lake near the holiday resort of Marbella.
Overnight reports in Spain said the alleged “contract killers” had been held over the shooting of a 24-year-old last September at the lake and weapons including a submachine gun and four pistols seized.
This morning detectives made their first comments on the detentions as they branded the arrested men “extremely violent” and claimed they had relocated to the Costa del Sol to “settle scores and carry out the murders.”
They also released video footage showing the moment they moved in with battering rams while shouting ‘Policia Policia, On The Floor’ to handcuff the suspects in pre-dawn raids.
Sniffer dogs were used in the raid to help the police gather incriminating evidence.
A spokesman for Spain’s National Police said: “National Police officers have smashed a criminal gang specialising in ‘settling scores’ and have arrested six alleged members of the organisation.
“With these arrests we consider the police investigation into an attempted assassination attempt last September in Marbella is now closed.
“Investigators have carried out raids in Marbella, Estepona, Fuengirola and Coin and have seized four pistols, a revolver, a weapon of war, several machetes, an axe, a bullet-proof vest, balaclavas, handcuffs and ammunition amongst other things.
“The attempted assassination took place at a lake called Turtle Lake on September 20 last year while three men were fishing and were attacked with weapons by a gang of men who shot at their vital organs with the intention of killing them.
“One of them was hit and needed medical attention.”
The spokesman added: “The gang’s modus operandi was to choose their victim and rely on equipment that enabled them to know where they were and decide on the best time to act with total impunity.
“They used a stolen car with false number plates to drive to the area where they plan to end their targets’ lives.
“The car they allegedly used and the places where they stored their weapons have been located.
“All the weapons seized had ammunition in them and were ready to be used.
“During one of the raids, one of the suspects pointed a weapon at police and only put it down after officers fired warning shots.
“This operation, which was codenamed Turtle, has enabled police to smash a criminal gang dedicated to contract killings.”
A well-placed police source confirmed: “All the men arrested are British.”
Turtle Lake above Aloha Golf Course is a small and picturesque lake, hidden away in the northern part of the upmarket residential area of Nueva Andalucia.
A short drive from Marbella town centre and glitzy Puerto Banus, it is a popular day trip destination for local schools.
The attack was described at the time as a drive-by shooting and the victim, who was seriously injured and suffered kidney damage, identified as a key ally of a Dublin gangster known as Mr Flashy.
It happened just eight days after the arrest of alleged Kinahan cartel key member Johnny Morrissey, a British-born Irish passport holder, at an apartment in nearby Mijas a half-hour drive towards Malaga.
The investigation that led to the arrests at an undisclosed location was carried out by two elite Spanish groups involved in tackling organised crime.
Two of the six British men arrested are said to come from London.
They now face charges including attempted murder, unlawful weapons possession and fraud. As well as a Skorpion sub-machine gun, the weapons seized are understood to include a Smith & Wesson revolver.
The six suspects have been handed over to the courts for further questioning and are thought to have been remanded in custody pending an ongoing criminal probe, although officials could not be reached early this morning morning for confirmation.