By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 17 December 2021 • 12:44
The Guardia Civil have made a major breakthrough with another drug bust in an operation involving Europol, The French Gendarmerie, The Belgian Police and the DEA in the USA. The most wanted arrested in Barcelona was sought for drug trafficking, money laundering and other crimes committed across three continents.
Operation MVRAND, has according to police dismantled one of the most important criminal gangs for the import of narcotics, and for money laundering.
The raid netted almost one million euros in cash, 10 luxury vehicles and a luxury yacht. Watches and jewellery worth more than 3 million euros and 18,000 euros in National Lottery tickets for El Gordo, the Christmas draw.
Some 16 searches were carried out in Barcelona, Pontevedra and Cadiz resulting in the arrest of 17 people, 11 Spanish nationals and six Moroccans.
It is understood that amongst those arrested is the ringleader, a Moroccan national (known only as F.A.A.) wanted in Spain for the import of 4,300 kilograms of hashish in San Pedro del Pinatar (Murcia) and 1,800 kilograms of cocaine in the Galician coasts, both in 2021. He was also a person of interest by the main international agencies against drug trafficking.
The arrests follow two years of investigation by the Central Antidrug Group of the Central Operations Unit, who consider F.A.A. to be the main supplier of hashish from Morocco to the Spanish mainland trafficking gangs, among them “Los Castañas” and “Messi”.
African cocaine route
F.A.A. took advantage of his extensive experience in trafficking hashish from Morocco to the mainland, where he had a large network of rubber dinghies and a huge logistical distribution network, he started trafficking cocaine using the classic methods established for the introduction of hashish.
Ultimately he is understood to have taken over the logistics for transporting cocaine to the mainland from Africa, using high seas transfer. He is also known to have used “nursery type warehouses” in Morocco.
Importantly investigators believe they have retrieved enough evidence to dismantle this Barcelona based family clan. The accused are believed to have led a simple life away at home, however abroad they led a lavish lifestyleFive mobile phones switched on at the same time
At the time of his arrest, F.A.A. was caught in the living room of his home with five mobile phone devices switched on and two notebooks, coordinating different operations on the high seas.
Also seized were jammers, detonating pistols, satellite telephones, several encrypted communication devices, as well as several establishments through which the proceeds of the criminal activity were laundered, and accounts, real estate and various assets abroad were blocked.
The Guardia Civil are understandably proud that the most wanted was arrested in Barcelona, striking another blow at the heart of the country´s drug trafficking business.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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