Two arrested in connection with theft of 56 tons of olive oil from Cordoban oil mill

Image of Guardia Civil officers at Cordoban oil mill.

Image of Guardia Civil officers at Cordoban oil mill. Credit: Twitter@guardiacivil

TWO people have been arrested by the Guardia Civil following an investigation into the theft of 56 tons of olive oil in Córdoba province last August.

According to a statement released by the force this Sunday, October 29, those detained in ‘Operation Duende Carpa’ included a former worker at the Carcabuey oil mill and the owner of an oil company in the area.

The stolen product was found to have been stored at the premises of this company and its owner reportedly participated in the theft.

Three other individuals have also been placed under investigation. This action was taken after it was after verified that the stolen extra virgin olive oil – which had already immobilised to prevent its illegal sale – was moved to a nearby company whose managers falsified the documentation to justify its potential sale.

When did the robbery take place?

The violent robbery occurred in the early hours of August 30 at the Marín Serrano ‘El Lagar’ oil mill, a family-run business in the Cordoban town of Carcabuey.

Their mill has been dedicated to the manufacture and packaging of virgin olive oil since 1968. After realising the robbery had taken place, the company bosses reported it to the Guardia Civil.

It was suspected from the onset of the investigation that the perpetrators had ‘previous knowledge’ in the manipulation of the facility’s oil tanks, as well as with the operation of the machinery and mechanism for their extraction.

A load as large as 56 tons would not have been easy to move very far from the mill so the investigators worked on the assumption that the stolen product had to have been stored nearby.

As a result, they inspected several nearby oil mills and cooperatives. The ‘modus operandi’ used by the thieves and the fact that the tank chosen for the robbery was precisely that of extra virgin olive oil raised the Civil Guard’s suspicions that the robbers were experts and knew the specific location of the stolen tank.

This was not the only such theft to occur in recent months in Andalucia. Just last week, more than 91 tons of olives and 400 litres of falsely labeled oil was seized in six towns in the province of Sevilla.

Following a special operation that had already carried out around 100 inspections at olive purchasing points and oil mills in 28 Sevillian towns, at least 30 people are being investigated for theft, document falsification and fraud.

These inspections coincided with the fruit collection campaign. In addition, 300 preventive operations were implemented in 33 municipalities of Sevilla to detect and prevent possible thefts.

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Written by

Chris King

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. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at