Right here

Some might think that at this stage we didn't ought to be surprised or scared when someone talks of mafia organisations linked with drug trafficking being set up on the Costa del Sol. For a long time now international criminal organisations have sought refuge here, trying to blend in with the large foreign population with a high-flying lifestyle and laundering money through property investment.

We can even remember how the same countries that sent us their criminals changed the name of the Costa del Sol to the Costa del Crime, a situation that was covered up as it did little for tourism promotion until the revenge killings, some with stray bullets that claimed innocent victims as collateral damage, forced the authorities into action.

Some might say we shouldn't be scared, but you'd have to be irresponsible not to take seriously what's happening now in the Campo de Gibraltar. The Guardia Civil association warned last week that there, just a stone's throw from the Costa del Sol, Spain's first drug cartel is taking shape, and that is much more serious than anything we have seen before.

The Interior Ministry, with its usual conceit and insolvency, has rushed to say that that is not the case. To back up its statement it has come up with the record-breaking figures in recent drug hauls in the area. Even the newest reader of the crime columns and anyone who has spoken to a police expert, knows full well that the more drugs are seized by police, the more drugs are getting through.

The minister cannot show a single statistic to prove that they are investing more to be able to deal with the situation that is starting to affect the Campo de Gibraltar, an area that is sensitive and vulnerable like all frontier territories, and ravaged even further by the scourge of unemployment and the lack of opportunities that make the world of drugs tempting for thousands of youths without a future.

For some time now, people working on the ground have been stressing the need to recognise the problem, give the security forces more resources and make a serious investment to offer an opportunity in the lives of those with no alternative but to become pawns in this sinister business.

After recent events that shed doubt on the basic democratic equation that the State holds the monopoly in strength, it was assumed that a deployment of resources would be made available to fight the drug dealing. The reinforcements were barely there long enough for the minister to have his photo taken with them.

This is serious and it's on our doorstep. If we think that it's not going to affect us, then we're terribly wrong.