Spanish police bust illegal drone export ring to Libya: Five arrested

by Lorraine Williamson

In a recent operation, Spanish National Police arrested five individuals involved in the illegal export of an anti-drone system to Libya.

The operation, led by the Comisaría General de Información (General Information Commissioner), targeted individuals in the Community of Madrid and Valencia, unraveling a network engaged in contraband activities related to dual-use materials and banned goods.

Illegal transactions involving drones

The investigation, initiated in 2020, focused on a Libyan national present in Spain, believed to be a key figure in the RADA-SDF, a significant paramilitary organisation in Libya. The suspect was identified as a key player in illegal transactions involving drones equipped with thermal cameras, destined for use by the RADA-SDF militia. These transactions violated the international embargo imposed on Libya and constituted a crime of smuggling prohibited goods.

Further into the investigation, evidence emerged pointing to the involvement of four other individuals in the illegal buying, selling, and export of an anti-drone system destined for the Trípoli airport in Libya. The airport is under the control of the RADA-SDF militia. The confiscated material is estimated to be valued at more than two million euros.

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The operation was a collaborative effort between the Comisaría General de Información and the Brigada Provincial de Información in Valencia, with coordination from the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the National Court under the direction of the Central Investigating Court number THREE.


The arrests took place last Thursday, with one individual apprehended at Valencia Airport and the four executives of a dual-use material supply company detained simultaneously in a Madrid municipality. Additionally, the central offices of the company in the Community of Madrid and two residences in Valencia were subjected to search warrants. Substantial digital documentation and technological material relevant to the investigation were seized during these raids.

The Comisaría General de Información of the Spanish National Police plays a crucial role in investigating counter-proliferation matters and pursuing violations of international rights against the global community.

All the arrested individuals have been brought before Central Investigating Court number THREE. Two of them have been remanded in custody following the court’s decision.

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