The arrests were made as part of 'Operation Rueda'. Photo: Cuerpo Nacional de Policía
The arrestees are suspected of being part of a criminal network believed to be behind two murders in southern Spain. All nine are from Sweden.
Three of the arrests were made in Málaga while the other six individuals were arrested in Malmö. The arrests came in a series of coordinated police actions at the beginning of the week as part of what Spanish police have dubbed ‘Operation Rueda’.
According to the Spanish National Police Corps, the three detainees – seven men and two women – have links to a criminal organization suspected of carrying out two murders in the Andalusian cities of Estepona and Marbella.
“These are people who are part of the criminal environment in Malmö and they are very well-known to us,” Petra Stenkula, the head of investigations in Sweden’s South police region, told Swedish news agency TT. “There are people who have previously been detained and suspected of murder, assassination, and other types of crime. There isn’t a single one of them who hasn’t been previously detained.”
The victims of the Andalusian murders were a 36-year-old man who was killed in May outside a church in Marbella and a 28-year-old man who was found dead in his Estepona residence in October. The 36-year-old victim is believed to have been involved in organized crime and drug trafficking in the area.
“These are brutal acts,” Stenkula said.
According to Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, the six people arrested in Malmö are five men between the ages of 24 and 32 and a 64-year-old woman. Spain has requested the extradition of these six individuals. The three people arrested in Spain normally reside in Sweden, police said.
Stenkula said that one of the men arrested in Málaga asked police if he was being detained for a murder in Spain or Sweden, and at least one of the detainees is suspected of other unspecified crimes in Sweden.
Those who agree to be extradited will be taken to Spain for trial. If they resist the extradition request, their cases will be handled by a Swedish court.