The Guardia Civil arrested the Briton in February. | Guardia Civil

The Audiencia Nacional high court in Madrid has authorised the extradition of a Briton who was in hiding in Palmanova and who faces up to 14 life sentences.

He is said to have been part of a sophisticated drugs network. Police in the UK calculate that he made at least 1.4 million pounds (1.6 million euros) profit from drugs trafficking. His arrest warrant itemised 16 different crimes, most of which carry sentences of life imprisonment. The lightest ones, such as for marijuana trafficking, carry a maximum of 14 years in prison, up to three times more than sentences under Spanish legislation.

Because of the length of these sentences, the Madrid court required guarantees from the UK authorities. Under the agreement for extradition between Spain and the UK, there has, for example, to be sentence review at twenty years. These guarantees were given.

He arrived in Palmanova in June 2020. The network was broken up after British police managed to hack the EncroChat app, which made phones invisible and was mostly used by organised crime. The British and French police had spent three years trying to disable it.

With information obtained, some 800 arrests were made throughout Europe. The app managed to notify users, which was when he sought refuge in Mallorca. Two of his accomplices have already been convicted. He was arrested by the Guardia Civil in February.