By Dilip Kuner • 30 October 2019 • 11:49
GUARDIA Civil and the Royal Gibraltar Police have smashed a drugs smuggling network in a joint operation.
Thirty-eight people have been arrested and 3,600 kilos of hashish seized in the latest phase of the operation. Ten boats, three jet skis and numerous bank accounts were also confiscated.
The operation took place in Cadiz, Malaga and the Rock and was against what has been called a “a powerful criminal organisation dedicated to drug trafficking.”
Investigators detected late last year that a gang was smuggling large amounts of hashish and then laundering the proceeds.
In the first phase of Operation Helix 3,500 kilos of hashish was seized and 29 Spaniards were arrested in the Campo de Gibraltar and Malaga. In addition, 16 searches were carried out in warehouses and homes in the Campo de Gibraltar region and in the province of Malaga. Nineteen vehicles, three of them stolen, seven boats and €380,000 cash were seized.
Police also identified several Gibraltarian citizens who were allegedly part of the same network, including the ring leader.
Close cooperation was established between Guardia Civil and the Royal Gibraltar Police, through its Financial Crimes and Money Laundering Unit.
This body initiated its own investigation called Halogen which worked in parallel to Helix. On October 22, the Gibraltarian police culminated the operation with raids on nine homes and the arrest of five men and four women- all British – on suspicion of money laundering. In addition, the RGP seized nine vehicles, three yachts, three jet skis, cash and other valuables.
As a result of this operation, the Supreme Court of Gibraltar issued a restrictive order under the Criminal Proceeds Act to freeze 14 bank accounts, seize three taxi licences, three business establishments and three residential properties
During one of the searches, more than 400 drums of gasoline of the type used by speedboats for offshore refuelling were also seized.
The RGP used 70 officers with the support of specialists from the Gibraltar Military Police and the canine section of the Customs Department (HM Customs). In addition, four operational members of the Guardia Civil were present during the searches.
The nine detainees arrested by the RGP have been released on bail of £10,000 each and will have to appear at the Gibraltar police station in April 2020. The investigation remains open and further police action is not ruled out in the near future.
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