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British Fugitive Arrested in Dubai on Drug-trafficking Charges

FILE - A pair of handcuffs and a key.

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives, a 35-year-old suspected of involvement in a plot to traffic huge quantities of cocaine, has been arrested in Dubai, authorities said Sunday.

Michael Paul Moogan, from Liverpool, had been on the run for eight years since a raid on a Rotterdam cafe that is suspected of being a front for meetings between drug traffickers and cartels.

The cafe was "central to a plot to bring hundreds of kilos of cocaine into the U.K. every week," Dubai police said in a statement.

Moogan used different identities to elude capture and entered the emirate under a false name and nationality.

After he was tracked down, he was put under surveillance before being taken into custody April 21.

"This arrest is the result of years of investigation involving a range of law enforcement partners in the U.K., Europe and Middle East," Nikki Holland, director of investigations at the U.K.'s National Crime Agency (NCA), said in a statement.

The NCA said it had targeted Moogan and his associates over suspicions they were involved in plans to import drugs from Latin America to the European Union.

Its investigators linked Moogan and two other British men to Rotterdam's Café de Ketel, which was open to the public but could only be entered via a security system.

At the time of the raid, only one of the men, Robert Hamilton, a 71-year-old from Manchester, could be found, it said. He was jailed for eight years in 2014.

"The other man, Robert Gerard, 57, from Liverpool, handed himself in to the NCA after three years on the run, claiming the pressure was too much," the NCA said, adding that Gerard was sentenced to 14 years.

"We are extremely grateful to those partners for their assistance in ensuring Moogan now faces justice," Holland said.

"He will be returned to the United Kingdom to face trial."