MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico uncovered and stopped an international plot to smuggle in late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saadi and settle him on the country's Pacific coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Several people were arrested on November 10 and 11 over a plan for Saadi Gaddafi and his family to enter Mexico illegally after intelligence agencies got a tip in September.
"They succeeded in avoiding this risk, they dismantled the international criminal network which was attempting this and they arrested those presumed responsible," Interior Minister Alejandro Poire told a news conference.
The criminal ring bought property and forged documents with the aim of bringing Saadi Gaddafi and his family to live near Bahia de Banderas, home to the popular tourist destination Puerto Vallarta, Poire said.
The network - which authorities said included Mexican, Danish and Canadian members - had arranged for private flights between Mexico, the United States, Canada and the Middle East.
Saadi Gaddafi's lawyer Nick Kaufman said his client was in Niger, where he fled as his father's 42-year rule crumbled in August. Niger has said he would remain in the West African nation until a United Nations travel ban is lifted.
"He is fully respecting the restraints placed on him presently by the international community," Kaufman told Reuters.
Like many senior members of the Gaddafi regime, Saadi, a businessman and former professional soccer player, was banned from traveling and had his assets frozen by a U.N. Security Council resolution when violence erupted earlier this year.
Interpol has issued a "red notice" requesting member states to arrest Saadi with a view to extradition if they find him in their territory.
(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and Veronica Gomez; Additional reporting by Christian Lowe in Algiers; Writing by Krista Hughes; Editing by John O'Callaghan)