GALICIA – As part of Operation CARPLAYA, the Guardia Civil has dismantled a criminal organisation from Galica. They specialised in the transport of cocaine between different areas in Spain and Portugal. Furthermore, they used vehicles equipped with sophisticated concealment systems.
The investigation was carried out by the Central Operative Unit of the Guardia Civil. It began in April of last year after learning of the possible existence, thanks to the international collaboration of the Guardia Civil on drug trafficking, of a robust network criminal settled mainly in the Autonomous Community of Galicia, but with intense criminal activity in different Spanish provinces, and even in various areas of Portugal.
Clandestine workshop in Vigo
During the operation, the police were able to corroborate how some of those investigated transported indeterminate amounts of cocaine. They managed to do this without the support of other security vehicles. These support vehicles normally help to avoid police checks or any other another incidence as usual in this modus operandi. Consequently, this put the investigators on the track of the possible existence of sophisticated concealment systems inside them.
This line of investigation led the agents to a clandestine workshop located in the city of Vigo (Pontevedra). Moreover, the manager turned out to be a fundamental part in the logistics used by the now dismantled organisation.
Known family ties linked to drug trafficking
The criminal group investigated was strongly cohesive. This is because the majority of its members were family or had criminal ties that existed over a long period. Furthermore, they had previous experience in this criminal typology, as well as in the use of encrypted messaging technology in their communications, inhibition systems and state-of-the-art radio frequency detectors.
High standard of living with no recorded income
Also, it was a very relevant part of the investigation to verify the high standard of living of its members. This was somehow achieved even without having any known legal economic income or property.
Despite this, those investigated frequently acquired high-end vehicles, all kinds of furniture for homes in the name of spouses or relatives, as well as exclusive trips. This then led to an exhaustive economic and patrimonial analysis of the main members of the organisation and their companies. As a result, this opened the door to them being charged with other crimes such as money laundering.
Last Wednesday, the exploitation phase of the investigation was carried out, leading to the arrest of 10 people. They are charged with the crimes of belonging to a criminal organisation, against public health and money laundering, as well as 15 records that were made in the provinces of Pontevedra and Lugo.
Overall, operation CARPLAYA has resulted in the intervention of 220 kilograms of cocaine, 2.5 kg of hashish, €640,000 in cash, 8 vehicles, frequency jammers, radio frequency detection systems (rackets), documentation related to the illegal investigations and terminals with encrypted communication systems. In the economic part, more than €4 million have been immobilised between commercial companies, real estate, boats, and blocked bank accounts.
Agricultural and livestock farm in Pontevedra
As relevant information, in one of the properties registered in Pontevedra, most of the seized narcotic substance was found, being hidden in an underground hole in the farm set up for this purpose.