By Chris King • 26 March 2023 • 20:26
Image of the arrests in Region of Murcia.
Credit: Guardia Civil
As reported in a statement from the Guardia Civil on Friday, March 24, a criminal organisation operating in the Region of Murcia has been smashed. ‘Operation Game Rol’ resulted in the arrest of 16 individuals suspected of committing violent robberies in public establishments and homes in the Comarca del Campo de Cartagena.
Specifically, they are detained for the alleged crimes of robbery with force, robbery with violence and intimidation, vehicle theft, illegal human trafficking, drug trafficking and reception.
Investigators carried out 17 house searches in the municipality of Torre Pachecho in which they seized a detonating revolver with ammunition, 28 vehicles, bladed weapons, €26,000, 600 packets of tobacco, jewellery, tools, marijuana, ecstasy, gloves and a ski mask. The investigation remains open due to suspicions of the participation of the detainees in a total of 80 crimes.
The force learned last August of a series of robberies committed in homes, gambling halls, and tobacconists, which, due to their regularity, geographical proximity, and modus operandi, revealed the existence of an experienced criminal group.
Their first robbery with violence and intimidation took place in a recreational room in Roldan, a district of Torre Pacheco. Guardia Civil officers recovered a stolen van that had been abandoned in a rural area after committing this assault.
After this robbery, many more followed, in pharmacies, restaurants, tobacconists, supermarkets, companies and homes, which generated social alarm among the residents of the region.
Visual inspections carried out determined that the gang’s primary objective was cash. They even stole the cash registers and tobacco machines, which were abandoned moments later in nearby locations. As a result, a series of surveillance operations were established in the affected areas with the purpose of preventing future robberies and detaining the suspects.
In addition, the investigators compiled security images, victim testimonies, and analysis of the information obtained. In this way, the modus operandi, the ramifications of the alleged band and its main nucleus – which was located in the Pachequera districts of Roldan and Lo Ferro – were determined.
On March 7, investigators arrested 11 people and carried out 15 searches at various homes in Torre Pacheco, La Puebla-Cartagena and the districts of Roldan and Lo Ferro. The following day, police officers arrested another five members who were hiding in two other buildings in Roldan.
Two of the detainees are also accused of a crime of human trafficking, by carrying out fraudulent registrations and favouring the irregular entry of migrants, providing them with transportation and accommodation.
The criminal organisation was perfectly hierarchical, in which each member specialised in a specific task. Before committing the robberies, they selected their objective, found out the routines of the workers, the hours of the greatest collection of the establishments and chose their escape routes carefully. The leader selected the most experienced people in robberies, between 20 and 35 years of age, to commit them.
Investigation made it possible to verify that the assaults were carried out generally using vehicles stolen days before and acting in groups of at least four people, to ensure the success of the operation.
Part of the criminal structure was also dedicated to introducing stolen items onto the market. These people were essential for the criminal group since they provided economic benefits a few days after committing the robberies.
Another of the ramifications of the group discovered the retail sale of drugs among the members of the criminal organisation themselves.
The proceedings and the detainees have since been made available to the Investigating Court No7 of San Javier, which ordered the entry into preventive detention of 11 of the detainees.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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