Three suspected animal rights extremists were arrested Friday in joint raids in London and the Netherlands following a Europe-wide inquiry into the alleged blackmail of targets in Britain.
Police said a 25-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man were detained at a home in Amsterdam by the Dutch National Crime Squad, while Britain's Scotland Yard arrested a 50-year-old woman Friday at a home in Croydon, south London.
All three were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to blackmail, an alleged offense that police said was directly linked to animal rights extremism.
Officials said the intended blackmail target was in Britain, but police declined to provide details of the identity of the alleged victim or say whether those arrested are suspected of belonging to a particular extremist group.
"The three arrests mark a significant development in a long-running, proactive investigation into alleged criminal activity across Europe," Scotland Yard said in a statement.
In 2009, seven members of an animal rights group called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty were jailed for blackmailing the Cambridge, England-based Huntingdon Life Sciences, which conducts animal testing for the pharmaceutical industry. Five other activists were jailed in 2010 over threats and vandalism made against the company.
Scotland Yard declined to say whether the same company was connected to the latest arrests
Dutch prosecutors said they planned to soon extradite the two suspects detained in Amsterdam to Britain. Both were arrested on a European arrest warrant...
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