Britons arrested with seven tonnes of hashish as smuggling ring is busted

Photo of the seized hashish.
Photo of the seized hashish. / SUR
  • Among items seized were a firearm, nine vehicles, packing machines and over 220,000 euros cash

Several British nationals are among those who were held recently in Marbella and Estepona over alleged involvement in large-scale drug trafficking. Police have been giving more details this week of the group who are accused of bringing hashish into Spain from North Africa via boat for onward distribution across Europe through a carefully planned network.

In total eleven people were arrested as part of the operation, including British, Moroccan and Spanish nationals. As part of the detentions, investigators seized seven tonnes of hashish, 5.4 grammes of ecstasy, 220,720 euros in cash, a firearm, nine vehicles, 25 mobile phones, a GPS tracker, a frequency inhibitor, a note-counting machine, three precision scales and two vacuum packing machines, among other items.

According to National Police, the investigation started in March this year and at the end of May one of the suspects was identified inside a vehicle in Estepona. Believing that he may have been carrying drugs, he was followed before spotting the police surveillance. During his attempts to get away several police vehicles were damaged and he was detained. Bales of hashish were found in the car. Further suspects were located in San Pedro in a van carrying 35 bales of hashish.

As the investigation deepened, the police identified the nucleus of the gang, five British and Irish citizens including the head of the group. On arrest, the gang leader was found to have 150 bales of hashish in his house and a pistol hidden in a double-bottomed wardrobe, said police.