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Gang that sold jelly sweets laced with drugs caught operating from the Costa del Sol
Crime

Gang that sold jelly sweets laced with drugs caught operating from the Costa del Sol

They sent the sweets by post throughout Europe and had also created a complex network of companies to launder the money; 15 Dutch nationals have been arrested

Europa Press

Tuesday, 7 May 2024, 09:50

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Police have smashed a Dutch gang based on the Costa del Sol which sold jelly sweets contaminated with drugs online.

The members of the organisation, of Dutch origin, sent the drugs by post throughout Europe and had also created a complex network of companies to launder the proceeds, according to National Police and Guardia Civil investigators.

Officers raided seven houses in the Malaga towns of Fuengirola, Mijas, Estepona, and in the Canary Islands (Maspalomas) and arrested 15 people. Among other substances, police seized 12,000 bags of jelly sweets and snacks contaminated with THC, 281 vapes with liquid cannabis, and 49 packets containing cocaine.

An investigation was launched after Spanish police received a report from Belgian police that a Dutch national had been arrested at a parcel collection point with a consignment of 700 grammes of narcotic substance, namely synthetic cathinone (3MMC).

Following his arrest, officers started an investigation to find out which organisation was behind the act. Investigators discovered the network that had made the shipment was responsible for many other small, low-value deliveries through different logistics companies and using different recipients. During the investigation they found numerous shipments were also made to Maspalomas.

The leaders of the organisation were a Dutch couple, well positioned on the Costa del Sol, who lived a life of luxury with numerous properties and businesses, including a gym, in their name in the Fuengirola, Mijas and Estepona areas. They were assisted by two other Dutch people who coordinated shipments.

The gang would acquire sweets and snacks from different places, such as Holland, or directly from factories in Spain's Levante, or even from China, before contaminating them with cannabinoids. To avoid detection, they used different storage rooms and properties to hide the products.

The main suspect did not live in one place, but was renting various holiday rentals and frequently changed vehicles, according to investigators. The gang also had two storage rooms in Mijas. In one of them they kept legal merchandise such as snacks, sweets or vapes, which did not contain narcotics. Later, after leaving them for a certain period of time, they would pick them up and take them to one of the properties they had rented, where they had set up a rudimentary kitchen-laboratory where they contaminated the sweets, police said.

Recipients of the drugs paid by bank transfer, with more than 1.5 million euros entering the account during the investigated period. The fake company then declared the revenues as sales of products such as chemical raw materials, vitamins or sports products. Police blocked 620,000 euros in Spanish bank accounts as well as real estate properties valued at 1.5 million euros and high-end cars.

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