Narco-boat organisation dismantled in southern Spain

by Lorraine Williamson

ANDALUCIA – Forming part of the “Viñas” macro-operation, La Policia Nacional has dismantled a criminal organisation dedicated to the preparation of narco-boats importing hashish from Morocco.

The organisation was based in Cádiz and Málaga. However, they had a wide network of associates in Andalucia, Extremadura, Murcia, and in the Valencian Community.

The investigation began in mid-2021 after the detection of a criminal group allegedly dedicated to trafficking large quantities of hashish.

Rented warehouses

The gang rented industrial warehouses. There they allegedly enhanced the performance of the narco-boats by adding high-power engines, navigation systems and all the electronics necessary for their trips. This would have allowed them to make fast journeys between Campo de Gibraltar and Morocco.

When the narco-boats were prepared, they were transported by truck and trailers to the coast of Campo de Gibraltar.

Once imported from Morocco, the substances were hidden in these industrial warehouses. Making use of their associates in other areas, the drugs were then transported by truck to countries. This included France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

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Arrested and seized

Operation “Viñas” was carried out over 9 different phases. In total, it has resulted in the arrest of 21 people.

During one of the initial phases of the operation, in an industrial warehouse in Corbera (Valencia), police seized 296 kilograms of vacuum-packed marijuana buds in different bags. These were hidden among lettuce, inside a refrigerated trailer. The driver and his passenger were arrested.

In another, later phase in Murcia, police intervened in 40 packages of hashish with a total weight of 80 kilos. This was found in a false bottom inside the cargo doors of a trailer. Subsequently, this led to a further 8 people being arrested and 7 searches in Murcia, Almería, El Ejido, and Córdoba.

The investigation lasted until recently with a total of 21 people arrested for their alleged responsibility in the crimes of drug trafficking, money laundering, smuggling, and belonging to a criminal organisation

Furthermore, a property investigation was carried out on those investigated that allowed the prohibition, to sell and dispose of a fleet of 45 vehicles (with a value of €1,472,000), and a property valued at €150,000.

Also read: 49 arrested in drug trafficking investigation

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