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Manilva arrest drug gang run "like a football team"

  • A drug trafficking boss in Manilva known for training his smuggling group with the same discipline as a football team has been arrested along with 21 other members

The Guardia Civil has been giving details of two recent successful operations in the fight against drug smuggling from North Africa to the Campo de Gibraltar area.

In the highest-profile operation, officers have arrested a drug trafficking boss in Manilva known for training his smuggling group with the same discipline as a football team.

According to sources, the man had been a player for La Balona, the biggest football team in the Campo de Gibraltar area, and had transferred those skills into the management of the gang he led. Investigators say that not only did he gameplay the shipments with them, but also coached them to make sure all would go well and provided feedback to correct mistakes.

The operation to break up the group, which started last September, has led to the arrest of 21 members of the so-called "footballers" gang in Manilva, where the leader has a villa.

The gang members had fled there on fast boats after being caught unloading a shipment on a beach near Sotogrande. The Guardia Civil seized 57 bails of hashish on the beach weighing 1.75 tonnes.

Further operational success

The Guardia Civil has also reported on another recent successful operation. A further 21 people were held over shipments between Ceuta, on the North African coast, and Tarifa and Algeciras. Those arrested used semi-rigid power boats and similar leisure craft to bring consignments into marinas. The drugs seized in this separate operation was 1.5 tonnes and officers claim that the operation was bringing in around half a tonne of hashish a month into Spain.

During this investigation the Guardia Civil seized a van loaded with 1,300 litres of fuel on a beach in Tarifa. Officers also carried out various searches which led to the discovery of fake firearms and a large amount of cash.