29 March 2017
The suspected head of an organised crime group involved in drug trafficking, VAT fraud and money laundering was one of six people arrested yesterday as part of an international multi-agency operation.
James Mulvey, aged 40, who is originally from Solihull, was apprehended in Lithuania on a European Arrest Warrant following an investigation by the National Crime Agency, the West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team and HM Revenue and Customs.
NCA officers worked closely with the Financial Crime Investigation Service in Lithuania to locate Mulvey who was then arrested by armed officers from the Lithuanian Police at a house in Kaunas. Two ballistic vests were found during a search. At a separate address linked to Mulvey officers recovered a Glock firearm and over 100 rounds of ammunition.
Mulvey is wanted in connection with a 2007 seizure in Belgium of 20 kilos of cocaine, 365 kilos of cannabis and 10 kilos of phenacetin. The drugs were destined for Ireland. Five people were jailed in the UK in 2009 for a total of 88 years.
Extradition proceedings will begin when he appears at court in Vilnius tomorrow.
Investigators believe that the five others arrested during raids across the Midlands and Somerset – a 42-year-old woman from Charlton Adam, Somerset; a 37-year-old man from Tamworth; a 50-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman from Wythall; and a 58-year-old man from Atherstone – are members of the crime group linked to a multi-million pound VAT fraud and money laundering. All five have been released but are still under investigation.
They also suspect a seventh person – a 66-year-old man from Solihull who was invited in for interview yesterday – is a member of the crime group and linked to the drug seizure. He has been released while the investigation continues.
Adam Warnock, NCA Operations Manager, 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.”
The Mauritius Police Force and the Financial Intelligence Unit in Mauritius, who are both supporting the investigation, searched a number of addresses in the Tamarin area yesterday. Documentation and digital devices were seized.
Approximately £40,000 was recovered from addresses in the UK along with computers and digital devices which are now being forensically examined.
Over 200 officers from the NCA, West Midlands RART and HMRC were involved in the operation. Officers from West Midlands Police and the South West Regional Asset Recovery Team also provided assistance.