BENIDORM – The Spanish police have dismantled a highly organised criminal gang engaged in the large-scale production of marijuana. A total of 15 people have been arrested in Benidorm, Finestrat and Polop.
They are all suspected of involvement with this group. Those arrested range in age from 22 to 69 and have both Hispanic and South American backgrounds. The group is said to have grown marijuana on a large scale in apparently abandoned buildings. There they also handled the processing, transformation and storage of the drugs for transport to other parts of the country.
The action was carried out by officers from the Drug Unit of the UdyCO and the Prevention and Response Unit of the National Police Station in Benidorm. They conducted five house searches of several homes in Benidorm, Finestrat and Polop, seizing a total of 1,441 mature plants, 90.5 kg of harvested marijuana, 13 kg of marijuana scrap and supplies for harvesting, drying and handling, as well as 4 vehicles and a 9mm handgun. The estimated street value of the drugs could be close to €1 million.
In addition, the group is accused of theft of electricity from the communal network, with fraudulent bills worth between €15,000 and €40,000.
The police accuse those arrested of drug trafficking, membership of a criminal organisation, electricity fraud, illegal possession of weapons and illegal occupation of premises. The Benidorm court has ordered that the leaders of the group be taken into custody.
Large-scale production of illegal substances
During the searches, the officers also found an industrial press machine, used by the members of the criminal gang to press amphetamine pills or tablets. At the time of the discovery, nearly 100 grams of amphetamine powder was found ready for pressing, and traces of recent amphetamines were also found in the dies and typefaces used by the pressing machine.
The police indicate that these types of specialised machines are generally found in laboratories where highly harmful illegal substances are produced on a large scale.