Sunday, 15 February 2004

Two Irish women held in Spain over missing Westies

Sunday Tribune

POLICE in Spain are questioning two Irish women in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of two alleged leaders of a Dublin drugs gang.

The two women, believed to be girlfriends of the missing men, were arrested yesterday after flying to Spain to officially report the two men missing. The women are being held in a resort town south of Alicante.

Twenty-six year old Stephen Sugg and 31-year old Shane Coates ? both of whom are allegedly involved in a Dublin crime gang known as the 'Westies' ? have been missing from their villa in the south-east of Spain for two weeks.

It is believed that detectives investigating the disappearance arrested the women after becoming suspicious of their stories. The women told detectives that they were unaware that police are probing the possibility that the whole disappearance is a hoax to avoid arrest. Both men are wanted by the gardai.

The two women were arrested and taken to a local police station where they can be held for a maximum of 72 hours.

Coates and Sugg have been missing for two weeks now.

Sugg fled to Alicante following an attempt on his life early last year. Coates fled to Spain from Ireland in May of last year after being involved in a shootout with officers of the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in Cavan.

The pair first met when they were teenagers on the Corduff estate in Dublin's northside. The pair had run up a string of convictions before leaving Ireland last year.

It had initially been presumed that the men had been kidnapped in relation to a dispute with a rival drug gang either from Spain or Ireland.

However, another possibility currently being investigated by Spanish police is that they may have faked their own disappearence to avoid capture.
February 15, 2004

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