More than 1,000 police officers involved in mass drugs raids in Barcelona

MORE than 1,000 police officers took part in a massive anti-drugs operation that led to 50 arrests in Barcelona.

Regional force Mossos d’Esquadra were joined by National Police and the city’s Guardia Urbana as they targeted criminals in the Raval district.

They searched 35 homes, warehouses and other premises, including a restaurant. They found three kilos of heroin, two kilos of cocaine, 2,180 pills of illicit drugs, cash and knives, according to the head of the Mossos in Ciutat Vella, Antoni Sànchez.

The arrests made are a major blow against the drugs underworld. Police say they represent a group that had moved into a vacuum left when 15 ‘narcoflats’ were raided and 30 people arrested last year.

Police say the new network consisted mainly of people of Pakistani origin who normally made a living selling drinks in the street and popularly known as “lateros”.

Investigators say they had taken advantage of the disappearance of the “narcoflats” – where drugs were sold and consumed – to become one of the main groups selling drugs on the promenade and leisure areas of Ciutat Vella.

Since 2017 police have shut down 182 narcoflats in Barcelona and made 245 arrests, effectively shutting down the Dominican national run system.

Now the head of the Guardia Urbano, Benito Granados, says their aim is to have similar success against the lateros.

National Police say that as well as facing drugs charges, checks will be made to see if those arrested have residency permits.

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