One of the detainees in the Guardia Civil operation.

Police break up drugs gang that used humanitarian aid shipments to Ukraine as a cover

Guardia Civil officers have arrested 30 people and seized 1,000 marijuana plants and 20 kilos of buds in the operation

JUAN CANO

The Guardia Civil has dismantled a drugs gang that used vans disguised as part of an aid convoy bound for the Ukrainian people. But, instead of carrying food and clothing, they were transporting marijuana.

Officers have uncovered a trafficking network that was supplied from marijuana plantations scattered around Andalucía; they have arrested 30 people of Ukrainian, German, Spanish and Moroccan nationality.

The Ukrainian contingent operated from the Costa del Sol, sending the drug to different European countries. Packaged marijuana was stored in a flat in Mijas.

During the investigation, the Guardia Civil stopped two Ukrainian-registered vans in Fuengirola with a total of 109 kilos of vacuum-packed marijuana, hidden in cardboard boxes. The four occupants of both vehicles were arrested.

Investigators carried out 11 house searches in Malaga province, seizing 740,400 euros, 25,250 US dollars, 20 kilos of marijuana buds, 1,000 marijuana plants, and a firearm, as well police equipment, including bullet-proof jackets and GPS tracking devices.

In this first phase of the investigation, 11 people were arrested for drug trafficking, belonging to a criminal organisation, illegal possession of weapons and electricity fraud, among other offences.

A second phase saw a further 14 arrests, in the provinces of Granada, Cordoba and Seville.