By John Ensor •
Updated: 31 Oct 2023 • 12:41
'Copper Mafia' member arrested.
In a major breakthrough, six individuals have been arrested linked to the notorious ‘Copper Mafia.’
A report from the Guardia Civil gave details of how the criminal clan were responsible for a spree of thefts, caused havoc and left many treatment plants across Valencia and Castellon out of action.
The investigation was initiated towards the end of August following the theft of two vehicles, essential tools, and nearly a kilometre of electrical wire from a business located in Betera, Valencia. The total loss and damages from this incident alone exceeded €180,000.
Subsequent investigations unveiled an intricate network of thieves, primarily from the same family. Their primary target was copper from establishments like treatment plants, train stations, and electrical units in large buildings.
The clan would brazenly tag their crime scenes with graffiti, proudly labelling themselves ‘The Copper Mafia’. They even taunted the Guardia Civil on social media, boasting about their numerous thefts. Their audacity led to 15 sewage treatment plants being disabled, which affected many Valencia and Castellon residents.
This criminal family was highly organised. The elder members, including the family patriarch, managed operations, overseeing the division of stolen goods among members.
The seniors members devised the thefts and coordinated two main factions: the ‘execution echelon’ and the ‘support echelon’. While the former carried out the heists, the latter sourced information and tools in order to carry out the crimes. There was also another team responsible for offloading stolen goods.
The clan’s children were trained from an early age in the way of crime, instead of attending school. They were seen as the next generation, ensuring the clan’s continuity.
The Guardia Civil’s intensive investigations confirmed over 75 robberies to the clan across provinces including Valencia, Castellon, Cuenca, Albacete, and Murcia. The cumulative losses amounted to €2 million.
Earlier this October, the Guardia Civil carried out six raids. Five were residential and one was on an industrial site used to stash stolen goods.
Another waste treatment facility, where stolen items were illicitly sold, was discovered, sealed, and inspected. This allowed the authorities to connect all the dots, from thefts to illicit sales.
The raids culminated in the arrest of six men, aged between 19 and 46, and the investigation of one child. Seized items included 1.5 tonnes of copper, 300 boxes of plumbing material, construction tools worth €70,000, five vehicles valued around €30,000, two tasers, three large knives, and copper-cutting tools estimated at €5,000.
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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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