By Anna Ellis • 15 March 2023 • 16:25
14 arrested as international drug trafficking organisation broken up in Andalusia. Image: Guardia Civil / Interior Ministry.
Twelve members of the organisation have been sent to prison for crimes against public health for drug trafficking, membership of a criminal organisation and money laundering, the Guardia Civil confirmed on Wednesday, March 15.
The criminal network acquired the hashish in Huelva and had a ‘nursery’ in Malaga from where it transported the merchandise to Seville for subsequent distribution to various European countries.
The police operation began in September 2021 when agents from the Organised Crime and Anti-Drugs Team of the Civil Guard in Seville and the Customs Surveillance Operational Unit in Seville detected a group of individuals who were involved in international drug trafficking, with the epicentre of the criminal activity being the town of Ecija (Seville).
As the investigations progressed, the agents were able to see how there was another branch of the organisation based in the province of Malaga, which was responsible for acquiring the narcotic substance in the town of Ayamonte (Huelva), its storage in Malaga and subsequent transport to Ecija (Seville), where the Seville branch would take charge of the drugs, for their preparation and subsequent transport to various European countries.
Thus, in February 2022, a first lorry was intercepted in the province of Granada, carrying 950 kilograms of hashish hidden in its legal cargo, the destination of this merchandise being France.
Once this seizure took place, the members of the organisation stepped up security measures, modifying their usual modus operandi.
Subsequently, in October of the same year, another seizure was made of 1,000 kilograms of hashish, which were hidden in the load of another lorry that was also intercepted in La Carolina (Jaén).
At this point, and after a break in the Seville branch due to the two seizures mentioned above, the investigation focused on the Malaga branch, and in January 2023, the agents managed to intercept two vans loaded with hashish, one of them with around 600 kilograms, which was intercepted on the A-92 road near Puebla de Cazalla (Seville) and the other, with just over 900 kilograms of hashish, in the town of Pizarra (Malaga).
Once all the members of the organisation had been identified, the operation was carried out on 21 February, with 16 house searches authorised by the Court of First Instance and Preliminary Investigation number 2 of Ecija (Seville).
As a result of the searches, more than 1.5 million euros in cash were seized. Part of this money, 1,085,000 euros, was hidden in a vehicle that one of the ringleaders of the organisation had rented in the Sevillian town of Ecija. That same morning, the agents arrested a member of the organisation while he was driving on the roads of Malaga. In the vehicle in which the arrested man was travelling, Ogro, a canine from the Guardia Civil’s cynological group specialised in money searches, found a double bottom in which 136,000 euros were found.
The agents also seized 3 firearms, two of them long guns and a pistol with a silencer, 14 vehicles, several of them top of the range, as well as numerous documents from the companies used to provide legal cover for the transport of the drugs.
With this operation, this criminal organisation based in the area of Ecija (Seville) and Malaga has been dismantled, with the arrest of 14 of its members, who are charged with crimes against public health, membership of a criminal organisation and money laundering. The judge in charge of the investigation of the operation ordered the imprisonment of 12 of its members.
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Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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