Daniel Dobbs, 31, from Malton in North Yorkshire was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in prison in January 2014, after he was convicted of trafficking heroin and amphetamines following an investigation by National Crime Agency officers.
On 2 November 2018 Dobbs, who had been given a serious crime prevention order, went missing from his cell at HMP Hatfield Lakes, a category D open prison in South Yorkshire.
An appeal was launched to try and find "Dobbo" as he was known to his friends.
Last year the NCA identified him as living in Spain under a false name and on 11 February 2020, after co-operation with Spanish law enforcement, Dobbs was arrested in a Guardia Civil investigation into an underground tobacco factory in Malaga, southern Spain.
Alison Abbott, of the NCA’s offender lifetime management unit, said: “Dobbs’s arrest is a fantastic result and shows the power of our international partnerships.
“British fugitives should know that we will catch up with them no matter where they are.”
Dobbs - who has a “Dobbo” tattoo in the centre of his back and has links to Doncaster, Hornsea and Norfolk - will be returned to the UK once the Spanish investigation and any judicial proceedings have ended.