Guardia Civil busts criminal organisation for deforesting natural reserve to grow marijuana

by Lorraine Williamson
marijuana in natural reserve

MALAGA – The Guardia Civil has successfully dismantled a criminal organisation involved in deforesting two hectares of a natural reserve in Málaga to establish an illegal marijuana plantation.

The organisation’s activities extended to a dangerous laboratory in a residential area, where they processed the drug using highly flammable gas. The operation led to the arrest of nine individuals engaged in intensive marijuana cultivation in a natural reserve area in the Axarquía region of Málaga.

The arrested individuals had razed two hectares of pine and shrubbery in the natural setting of Sierra Almijara de Nerja (Málaga) to make way for their illicit marijuana cultivation. In addition to clearing the protected land, they had constructed a water reservoir for irrigation and a makeshift camp for processing and drying the cultivated plants.

Drug-processing lab

This criminal group engaged in a conspicuous operation involving the transportation of large black bags containing the illegal substance. Inside one of the residences, they operated a drug-processing laboratory specifically designed for extracting resin from the plants using the “BHO” technique, an acronym for Butane Hash Oil. This technique, known for its extreme danger, involves the use of substantial amounts of gas, posing a significant risk of deflagration and house fires.

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Search and seizure

During the two raids conducted at residences in Nerja and Frigiliana (Málaga), police discovered 1,700 kilos of dried marijuana buds packaged in plastic bags and 20 kilos of hashish resin. The searches also led to the seizure of over €12,000 in cash, various tools for weighing and vacuum packing, and assorted documentation.

Furthermore, in the makeshift camp adjacent to the plantation, authorities confiscated an additional 497 kilos of dried marijuana buds and various tools related to the cultivation and drying processes.

Additionally, four members of the criminal group managed to evade arrest and flee the country. International arrest warrants have been requested to pursue these individuals and bring them to justice.

Also read: Guardia Civil dismantles violent marijuana trafficking organisation in Granada

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