MADRID – The Guardia Civil has arrested 16 people for the theft of more than 17 tons of olives. The operation has cleared up several thefts of olives from farms in the Las Vegas region of Madrid.
Those arrested include people responsible for two factories in the provinces of Toledo and Guadalajara. Moreover, they would have received the stolen olives. The robberies were committed on farms in Valdaracete, Fuentidueña de Tajo, Chinchón, Villaconejos, Villarejo de Salvanés, Colmenar de Oreja and Brea de Tajo.
Known as “Kalabrea”, the operation began last January after a farmer from Brea de Tajo complained to the Guardia Civil. The farmer stated there that he was the victim of the theft of 8,400 kilograms of olives from several farms on his property.
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Upon investigation, this complaint was found to be related to other similar cases where farm owners in the Las Vegas area were victims of theft of large quantities of olives. Thanks to security equipment installed in these farms, a vehicle was detected in broad daylight on February 2. In this, five people transported 140 kilos of olives. Furthermore, they could not justify the provenance of this.
Oil mills in Toledo and Guadalajara
The officers found that two olive mills, located in Toledo and Guadalajara counties, apparently received and processed the stolen olives. Guardia Civil police in charge of the investigation, along with members of the Nature Conservancy Service (SEPRONA) of the same force and personnel from the Labour Inspectorate of the Ministry of Agriculture of Guadalajara and Toledo, searched the oil mills and arrested their operators.
Consequently, the operation has resulted in 16 arrests and five people who are still under investigation. Moreover, all those detained are aged between 20 and 57 years old. Also, numerous documents seized show that more than 17.5 tons of olives were sold. Several tanks containing more than 600 litres of oil have also been sealed and administrative sanctions in the areas of safety, health and waste management have been imposed.