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Suspected Russian gangsters have been arrested in a nationwide operation against organised crime in Spain. Masked police moved in after Madrid’s most high-profile judge, Baltazar Garzon, ordered the arrest of 13 people on charges of criminal association, money laundering and tax fraud.

The suspects are described as the leaders of the gang, which Judge Garzon called the most important Russian mafia operation in the world. He said the police action had completely smashed the gang’s activities.

The arrests came in Madrid, the cities of Malaga and Marbella on the Costa del Sol, and the Balearic Islands. Some of the Russians have been living in Spain for more than a decade. They are accused of criminal operations around the world, including arms trafficking, prostitution, cigarette and drugs smuggling, and murder.