Spanish police arrested a drug suspect who was on the lam after escaping from a prison in Sweden in 2003 and dismantled a hashish-trafficking organization he allegedly headed.

During the operation in the southern Spanish provinces of Malaga and Granada, authorities arrested 17 suspects and seized more than 1,500 kilos of hashish, 12 vehicles and 60 cellular phones, police said Saturday.

The gang allegedly smuggled large quantities of hashish into Spain by sea and its reputed leader - identified as S.R. - had settled in the country under a false identity after escaping from a Swedish prison, where he was serving a sentence for drug trafficking.

During the prison break, he attacked the officers who were escorting him to a hospital for treatment for an alleged ailment.

At the time of his arrest, S.R. was carrying a false identity document, the fourth he had used since the investigation was launched.

The extradition process, launched immediately after the fugitive's arrest, is currently on hold while he is tried for crimes committed in Spain.

He and the other detainees face charges of drug trafficking, membership in a criminal gang, money laundering, document forgery and vehicle theft. EFE