By John Ensor •
Published: 30 Aug 2023 • 13:23
National Police seizure.
A major international drug trafficking network has been dismantled, with operations centred in a town in Alicante, Spain.
A report published on Wednesday, August 30, gave details of investigators from the Policia Nacional together with the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency, in collaboration with Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, and French authorities, intercepted a boat south of the Canary Islands.
The vessel was carrying over six tonnes of hashish. The operation led to the arrest of five individuals, including the leader of the international network who had been evading capture for months.
The investigation began in 2020 when a sailboat docked on the island of Lanzarote raised suspicions. After extensive inquiries, international connections were established, leading Dutch authorities to suggest a Netherlands-based criminal organisation might be involved.
The criminal network, originally based in the Netherlands, used a town in Alicante as its operational hub. Led by a notorious drug trafficker, the organisation had a sophisticated logistics network capable of distributing large quantities of narcotics across various European countries.
The group operated with stringent security measures and a highly sophisticated modus operandi. They travelled in person between countries to discuss their illicit activities, complicating police efforts to track them.
After months of surveillance, agents intercepted a boat 95 miles south of the Canary Islands. The boat, was found to contain 6,044 kilos of hashish, distributed in 169 bales. Two crew members were arrested on the spot.
Further investigations led to six raids in Alicante, Murcia, Madrid, and Gran Canaria. Among the items seized were over €35,000 in cash, numerous mobile and satellite phones, and a vehicle.
In a warehouse in a town in Murcia, a clandestine synthetic drug design lab was discovered and dismantled. Agents found substances used for pill-making and industrial machinery for tablet production. An inflatable boat, measuring twelve metres, was also seized.
During a search at one of the detainee’s homes in Alicante, small quantities of tusi (pink cocaine), hashish, marijuana, and crystal were found, along with supplies for retail distribution.
The operation culminated in the arrest of five individuals, including the leader of the international criminal organisation. The leader, who had been on the run and was wanted by German authorities, could face up to 15 years in prison.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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