The Guardia Civil have brought down an organised crime network committed to the import and export of large quantities of drugs through the port of Algeciras. Officers from the Unidad Central Operativa (UCO) have arrested a total of 21 people, ten of whom worked at the port in the storage and transportation of containers. In the operation, known as 'Allis Ubbo', a shipment of 480 kilogrammes of cocaine was also intercepted.
Investigators in this case carried out a large number of surveillance operations which allowed them to successfully locate a large network of traffickers across most of Europe. During one such operation, one new name came up which would, months later, be making the headlines on the Costa del Sol.
On 10 January, investigators caught wind of a meeting between various ringleaders of the now dismantled group and a Marbella resident known as 'El Maradona'. Four months later he was shot dead outside a church in San Pedro where his son had just had his first communion. A link between his killer and this group, however, has been rejected.
According to the Guardia Civil, security measures at the meetings of the group's ringleaders had been increasing. In such meetings, they agreed upon a 30 per cent commission on the price of each shipment of drugs successfully moved from containers onto trucks.
A complex network
This investigation started a long time before this, coming as a result of a tip-off from a joint police operation between officers in Brazil and Portugal. Having discovered that a deal had been sealed for the buying and selling of cocaine in Madrid, the UCO aimed to identify those involved immediately upon their entry into the country. As a result, they learned of the existence of an organised criminal gang located in the Campo de Gibraltar region and with a network of traffickers based in Spain and elsewhere.
The investigators identified four tiers to the organisation, made up entirely of Spaniards. At the top (the ringleaders) and at the bottom, those involved had criminal pasts. But those in the second and third tiers, who mostly worked in Algeciras port, had a clean record and were well organised and prepared to offer their services to traffickers.
They controlled the shift patterns of those involved in patrols in the port to ensure that when shipments of interest were passing through, they were not subjected to any inspections.
However, at the start of May, a police task force intercepted 480 kilogrammes of cocaine which had arrived from Guayaquil (Ecuador) as it was about to be smuggled out of Algeciras port in a lorry.
With these arrests, the Guardia Civil consider that this organised crime network and the "principal drug smugglers" in this port have been brought down.