British Law Enforcement Moves Against "Unlucky 13"

Published: 15 November 2013


Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested convicted sex offender Michael McCartney of the so-called “Unlucky 13”  on Thursday, just hours after law enforcement announced a resurgence in efforts to bring the men to justice.

McCartney, 78, was found in his home by Spanish authorities shortly after the NCA statement regarding the suspects. Prior to the arrest, the NCA declared that arrests in Spain would be conducted by Spanish police.

The NCA released information on the gang on Thursday as a part of the eighth "Operation Captura," which has led to the arrests of 54 out of 63 sought-after suspects since the beginning of the campaign in 2006. The multi-agency project has been aided by the non-governmental organization Crimestoppers and is now involving cooperation from Spanish authorities.

The Unlucky 13, wanted for attempted murder, sexual offences against a child, and drug dealing, are believed to be hiding in Spain. The NCA released the names and arrest warrant details of the men as well as contact information for Spanish authorities.

Lord Michael Ashcroft of the British parliament and founder of Crimestoppers noted that "despite our success so far, there are still a number of dangerous criminals who see Spain as a safe haven to hide from their past."

Euro Weekly News acknowledged Spain's "safe haven" status for criminals, declaring that "this changed in 2004 with European Arrest Warrants, making it easier to bring British criminals back to face justice."

NCA Head of Operations Hank Cole acknowledged the support of the operation's Spanish partners, saying that "The NCA and its partners have the capability to pursue fugitives relentlessly. Spain is not a safe haven."