Two arrested as Spanish swoop on smuggling operation

Another dispatch from the new frontline, this time on the European dimension to smuggling. Spanish police have arrested two men in connection with a shipment of half a million cartons of smuggled cigarettes. RTÉ briefly noted it yesterday as did others, but the BBC report identifies them as a 32-year-old man from Dublin and a 42-year-old man from Lisburn, and all report them as suspected members of the Real IRA. While the Irish Times[subs req] ends by noting

The arrests are the culmination of a two-year European police investigation into arms dealing, tobacco smuggling and money laundering to finance terrorist activities. Their findings led them to the Spanish Mediterranean coast, particularly the Costa del Sol and Malaga region.

Update More in The Times report

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  • uuper

    One of the suspects has apparently been living in in Costa resort of Benalmedena.

    I was on holiday there last summer and my four-year-old consistently mispronounced it ‘Ballymena’.

    It’s nothing like Ballymena, I assure you!

  • Pete with your nose for the shit, ie criminal activity, ( always SF related ) I’m suprised you don’t join the PSNI.
    Maybe you are a commander, who knows.
    You NEVER talk about yourself.
    Easy to hide behind your position on Sluggers.
    Sorry for man-playing guys, I’m just getting fed up with Mr.Baker. As the underlying sneaky narrative is crminalistation of irish people, whether conscious or sub-conscious.
    STOP it Pete, or at least balance your critiques, or perhaps broaden it, with some understanding.
    a tenner that the reply will include
    “I don’t agree with your assumptions”
    A yellow for you sir in my ref’s book.

  • DK


    So should this be hushed up? What is anti-Irish about reporting a smuggling bust? He makes it clear it is Real IRA rather than Provo IRA, or do you support the former?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Spot on SL — I’ve noticed myself that none of the articles featured on Slugger EVER mentions bad news about Unionism, Loyalist paramilitaries, the OO or the British establishment. Why it’s virtually an online version of the News Letter.

  • Sean

    They were on holiday like, jes can a man not buy ciggs abroad to bring them back home these days? So much for duty free.

  • foreign correspondent

    Jesus Christ. Two idiots get nabbed for smuggling cancersticks to raise money for the group responsable for the Omagh atrocity and the person who highlights the story is the bad guy?

  • lonely libertarian

    S-L, Gerry Lvs Castro, and other MOPEs,

    Precisely which out of cigarette smuggling and the group behind the Omagh bombing are you in favour of? And in what way is this to do with SF?

    By the way, S-L, is that your blog that you’ve linked to? The one where you liken the suffering of the Irish catholic people to a werewolf in Doctor Who?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    S-L, Gerry Lvs Castro, and other MOPEs….

    Sadly sarcasm is a lost art to some on this board…….

  • ingram

    Spirit ,

    You are well out of order, stop playing the man and deal with the vast amount of criminal activities by ALL para militaries.

    If you have a story regarding Loyalist then ask one of the lads to post up, they are both approachable and interested in all angles.

    You should say Sorry to Pete who in my opinion does a sterling job on this board and that is from someone who once had a go at him for a perceived Agenda.

    I was wrong so are you.


  • lonely libertarian

    Gerry Lvs Castro,

    Apologies, just realised my mistake. I’m new here, you see. It’s just that some around these parts would say what you said with an entirely straight face, so how are newbies meant to know who’s genuinely stupid and who’s just pretending to be?

  • heck

    A bit off topic, but while on the subject of criminal behavior let’s not forget the criminal behavior of Martin’s former employers in Iraq.

    Even the secretary general of the UN said that the war was illegal.

    This is much worst that a few smuggled cigarettes. At least that deprives honest Tony of some revenue he would otherwise spend on arms.

  • ingram


    Quote”behavior of Martin’s former employers in Iraq.

    By Heck that is some leap of faith, let us keep on topic. This topic is about keeping the pressure on Republicans to squirm and feel generally embarrassed and uncomfortable.

    Come on Heck, together we can succeed. LOL


  • mnob

    Heck, whataboutery is very much discouraged on these boards for a very good reason as it encourages endless threads about yousins are worse than us, where we all go back several hundred (thousand ?) years so that we can decide who started it.

    We all know that no side has the market completely cornered on being whiter than white.

  • Martin Ingram,
    You might be right, we’ll see.
    If I’m right re the Agenda, one day PB will blow his cover. If and when that happens, he’ll be welcome on ATW with the slugger exiles like David Vance, Andrew McCann, and Mr. Davros.
    Or as I prefer to call them:
    ” The hangers and floggers brigade ”
    I don’t deny the importance of raising issues ie
    “deal with the vast amount of criminal activities by ALL para militaries.”
    But we need to examine the causes, as well as the effects, or we just become like Tories.
    Some people are “up to their necks” in condemnation. That’s no good. It blinds one.

  • ingram


    I am sure Peter will appreciate that appology.


    PS. Youare of course more than welcome to submit those counter stories LOL

  • sohnlein

    Something ironic about preaching a liberation that is to be paid for with cheap cancer inducing coffin sticks. This story got little coverage at the time in Ireland (circa 2003);

    “Two Irishmen were caught red-handed hiding almost three million cigarettes destined for Ireland and Britain when police swooped, a Dutch court has heard.

    Michael Campbell (31) of Upper Faughart, Co Louth, and Brian Thomas Hoey (35) of Cloughnny, Forkhill, Co Armagh, are believed to have been part of an extensive Real IRA international smuggling ring.”

  • Martin
    “am sure Peter will appreciate that appology”
    you’re a wag, but I like wags.
    Be sure you’re sins will find you out 😉

  • heck

    MNOB It may be whataboutery but for some reason I can’t get really excited about smuggling and cheating the british government on excise taxes. When unionist get antsy about “criminality” this seems to be what they are talking about. Let’s be honest, what we are talking about is republicans cheating Honest Tony out of a few quid. Given that he will only spend the money on his illegal war in Iraq I can’t help but think that it may not be such a bad thing. As I said, semi tongue in cheek, on another thread, smuggling can be seen as a form of non violent civil disobedience, akin to the rent and rates boycott during internment or Vietnam war protestors refusing to pay their taxes. (The former was supported by the Stoops and the later by many leading US church members.)

    Given that a young nationalist lad was almost beaten to death this weekend I do question the motivation of those who go apeshit of a few thousand cigarettes or a few gallons of diesel.

    MI has provided the answer. This is about pressuring republicans not about some genuine concern about crime.

    It is like the murder of Robert McCartney. Of course this was a brutal crime by any measure and should have been condemned. However it was cynically exploited by Honest Tony’s government because their first attempt to use the Northern Bank job to “pressurize republicans” was getting no traction. The goal was to help Mark Durkan in the election and Honest Tony’s useful idiots in the media and blogesphere fell into line and got outraged on queue. If you don’t believe me compare the reaction to the murder of Denis Donaldson with that of Robert McCartney. There was no mileage for the British government in having an orgy of outrage over the murder of Donaldson so the outrage machine was not turn on. If there had been the useful idiots on this site would have been expected to fall into line.

    The faux outrage over smuggling is in the same vain and as MI says is designed to pressure republicans. To point out that there are more serious crimes being committed may be “whataboutery” but it needs to be done.

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks to those who provided supportive comments.


    I don’t expect s-l to provide an apology, he didn’t the last time he tried to accuse of having an agenda.. although then the accusation was of an agenda to embarrass Shaun Woodward…


    The only agenda is to provide posts on topic/stories that I, personally, find interesting and/or important or, just occasionally, amusing.. I’ve been doing that on Slugger now for some time – there are, to date, 1028 posts of mine in the archives.. Enjoy.

  • Reader

    heck: Given that he will only spend the money on his illegal war in Iraq
    Education Budget 53 billion, NHS 80 billion, Social security 130 billion, defence 32 billion (only a fraction of which is spent on Iraq). If you think the Iraq war was illegal, take it to court, if you think it is wrong then vote for anti war parties (there are plenty to choose from). But don’t imagine that tobacco smuggling is a tool for the serving the greater good, because it isn’t. It’s also extremely hypocritical when practised by people who spend the daylight hours calling for greater public expenditure.

  • heck

    reader. I was going to answer your post and use the example of the young man who was beaten but I have just seen that he had died. To comment now seems in bad taste. maybe we can continue this latter.

  • Reader

    heck: To comment now seems in bad taste.
    If you were going to use a sectarian murder as part of a discussion on tax evasion, then it will still be in bad taste next week.
    Instead, why not use the argument you would have used last week?