Guardia Civil Smash Gang of Illegal Animal Traders In Alicante

Animal smugglers Arrested In Alicante

Just one of the animals rescued by police. Credit: Guardia

Officers of the Guardia Civil have arrested Six people involved in the illegal trafficking of protected species such as big cats between Spain and France.

On June 21, 2023. The Guardia Civil in the so-called ‘Operation Queen 33,’ developed jointly with the French Gendarmerie, arrested six people, for the alleged smuggling of certain protected species, between Spain and France.

The operation also included the collaboration of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

CITES is an international agreement between governments, which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.

Many different species have been seized, which include an ocelot, a boreal lynx, servals, macaws and several marmoset monkeys, plus various weapons, ammunition and cash, according to a report from the Guardia Civil.

The detainees have been charged with the crimes of trafficking in species, false documents, smuggling, belonging to a criminal group and illegal possession of weapons.

Suspicions were raised when it was noticed through an acquaintance on social networks, where the sale of animals of different species was offered. Some of the animals listed included a silver fox, skunks, snakes and meerkats, all without any professional qualifications or the required documentation.

The animals were offered under a false claim of legality and were located on a farm in the town of Sax, Alicante.

Further investigations found that a French citizen had moved on several occasions to Alicante, in order to acquire specimens of wildlife, among which would be a serval, later offered for sale for €3,800.

The detainees in Spain were involved in the acquisition of animals and responsible for their well-being in the facilities they had on the Alicante estate until they were sold.

The intention was that via social networks, they would be sold to buyers in different countries of the European Union, specifically France, Belgium and Poland.

In addition, police also seized a Cetme assault rifle, a Mauser carbine, 14 cartridges of calibre 22mm and €5,000 euros in cash.

The operation has been possible thanks to the existing collaboration between the law enforcement agencies of the European Union and is part of the fight against illegal trafficking in protected species.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.