One of UK's most wanted men has been released by police after time limit expired
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One of the people on the UK’s most wanted list has been released from police custody in Portugal.
30-year-old Alex Male from Weston-Super-Mare has been alleged to be involved in the distribution of class A drugs in the South West of England, using a sophisticated encrypted network of communications to buy and sell narcotics.
Three months after he was placed onto the National Crime Agency's (NCA) ‘most wanted list’ he was arrested at the airport in Portugal’s capital city Lisbon.
He had arrived in Portugal on a flight from Turkey at the time of his request, but now he’s been released from police custody.
The NCA has now announced that Male has been let out by the Portuguese police because a time limit expired.
A spokesperson for the NCA said: “We have been made aware that following a habeas corpus application to Portugal’s Supreme Court, Alex Male’s release was authorised following the expiry of his custody time limit in the country.
“We are liaising with partners in the UK and Portugal to assess the ruling and its implications.
“UK law enforcement remains determined to find fugitives and return them to face justice.
“Male, 30, and previously of Weston-Super-Mare, had been arrested at Lisbon airport in May 2022, but remains wanted in the UK in relation to a South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) investigation into drugs supply.”
The organisation went on to say that it enjoys ‘strong relationships with law enforcement partners in Portugal’ and will be continuing that relationship in order to ‘ensure fugitives are forced to live life looking over their shoulder.’
Male has been wanted by the police in the UK since 2020, having spent that time as a fugitive.
It was believed that he was in the Marbella area of Spain since then but had left that country recently as well.
Then, the efforts of the Turkish police led to his arrest as he arrived into Lisbon Airport in Portugal.
At the time – in May of this year – the NCA had thanked the Turkish authorities for their ‘vigilance and expertise’ in helping to apprehend Male.
It praised its Turkish counterparts, while also confirming that Male had attempted to cross over international borders using fraudulent documents.
It said: "Male naively believed he could travel across international borders using fraudulent documentation and remain undetected by law enforcement.
"But he underestimated the vigilance and expertise of the Turkish border police, which enabled the Portuguese authorities to act.
"Any arrest of a fugitive is a fantastic result, even more so since Male had only recently been added to our most wanted list.
"He is wanted in connection with dangerous crimes, which have a devastating impact on communities, so I'm delighted he has been caught."
Featured Image Credit: National Crime Agency/Casarolli/Alamy Stock Photo
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