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45 arrested as police smash huge drugs trafficking network in south of Spain

The operation to dismantle the network had the support of the Guardia Civil's Rapid Action Group as well as helicopter and maritime units.

The operation to dismantle the network had the support of the Guardia Civil's Rapid Action Group as well as helicopter and maritime units. / Guardia Civil

  • Five high-speed boats, valued at 1.3 million euros, were seized in raids across Andalucía

Spain's Guardia Civil has smashed a huge drugs smuggling network that used high-speed boats to deliver hashish to the Andalusian coastline before it was distributed to other European countries.

In the so-called ‘Operation Linked', 45 people of Spanish and Moroccan nationalities have been arrested for the crimes of allegedly belonging to a criminal organisation, illegal possession of weapons and money.

Twelve raids, including locations in Malaga and Cadiz, were carried out which recovered 1,600 kilogrammes of hashish as well as five high-speed boats - one of them a brand-new powerful four-engine had been acquired by the organisation and was intercepted when it was going to be transported to Almeria.

In addition, four pleasure boats were seized - two of them with false bottoms to conceal drugs.

The craft were valued at more than 1,300,000 euros in total.

More than 45,000 euros in cash, 4,200 litres of fuel, eight cars, three jet skis and two firearms were also recovered.

According to the Guardia Civil the boats were kept in industrial warehouses that the gang rented in Malaga and Cadiz and were only put into the sea when they were going to transport drugs.

Investigators said the "enormous infrastructure" of the network allowed it to operate simultaneously in several Andalusian towns, thus making the investigation difficult.

The operation to dismantle the network had the support of the Guardia Civil’s Rapid Action Group as well as helicopter and maritime units.