64 arrests and 1.3 tonnes of cocaine seized, Mallorca key hub

by Lorraine Williamson
cocaine seized

With Operation Jaque Mate (Checkmate), the Guardia Civil has dismantled one of the largest cocaine smuggling organisations in Spain. More than a tonne of cocaine was seized. 64 people have been arrested in different parts of Spain, most of them in the Balearic Islands.

Operation Jaque Mate dealt a major blow to the main route for smuggling cocaine from Colombia, via Portugal, to Europe. Investigators from the Organised Crime and Antidrugs Team (EDOA) of the Guardia Civil of the Balearic Islands have arrested the main link of the Colombian drug cartels in Murcia. They smuggled tons of tons of this addictive substance to Spain and the rest of Europe.

The deployment of the Guardia Civil is a blow against a complex network of cocaine smuggling from South America. Moreover, the group supplied the Valencian clan, which in turn distributed the drugs in Mallorca.

The operation had several phases, of which Thursday’s operation in Mallorca was the third. It was a culmination after more than a year and a half of research in collaboration with international organisations such as the American DEA and the police of Portugal, Brazil and Colombia.

64 arrests in drug trafficking

As part of the operation, the Guardia Civil broke into a luxury villa belonging to El Pablo on Thursday, under which they found a network of half-buried underground tunnels connecting several houses as a suspected escape route.

The action, one of the most important ever carried out against drug trafficking in the islands, has resulted in 64 arrests, both Spanish and Colombian, the seizure of 1,300 kilos of cocaine, 15 expensive vehicles, €300,000 in cash, 40 properties worth €8.8 million and the freezing of 148 current accounts.

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Investigation into cocaine smuggling started a year and a half ago

The investigation began a year and a half ago at the Guardia Civil Commando in the Balearic Islands. The United States DEA, the Portuguese Judicial Police, the Federal Police of Brazil and the National Police of Colombia participated in the investigations. The EDOA researchers discovered the existence of a complex network that brought large quantities of drugs to the islands. In particular, a large quantity of cocaine from South America entered Spain via Portugal.

The Colombian cartels, especially the group in Murcia, were in permanent contact with the clan in Valencia. These, in turn, were linked to Pablo Campos Maya, the historical leader of the clan that bears his name and the boss of the drug trade in the Palma district of La Soledat. They distributed the drugs all over Mallorca.

Also read: Cocaine seized in Tenerife and Gran Canaria

First two phases of the operation

In the first phase of the operation, nine people were previously arrested. This included the head of the Colombian cartel in Spain. The arrest took place during the extraction of 1.3 tons of cocaine in the Murcian city of Cehegín. Moreover, the contraband was hidden in blocks of Brazilian granite. The second phase included 23 house searches with 16 arrests in Valencia, Palma and Toledo.

Also read: Villa Narco – the exclusive residential area for drug criminals

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