Spain’s National Police force has arrested four people who allegedly made up a criminal gang of Ukrainian origin dedicated to extorting money from their compatriots. The investigation revealed the structure of the criminal organisation and identified a man based in Marbella who directed, organised and coordinated the rest of the members who lived in Madrid. Three arrests were made in Madrid and one in Malaga and the four have been remanded in custody.
Those arrested used excessive violence to commit robberies with violence, extortion and illegal detentions, as well as planning and executing drug dumps. In one case in Benidorm, the arrestees tied up and gagged three women, although one of them managed to escape and call for help. Officers have carried out five searches in homes in Madrid and Malaga, as reported by the National Police in a statement.
The investigation began after a robbery which took place last May in Benidorm (Alicante). The agents became aware of a violent assault at a house where three women of Ukrainian nationality who had recently settled in Spain as a result of the war in their country were living. After the perpetrators gained access to the house the victims were bound with cable ties and gagged with duct tape.
They then began to search the house for money and valuables, at which point one of the victims managed to escape and ran out into the street to call for help, jumping over a passing vehicle. However, the criminals managed to escape.
The early investigations led to the identification of the vehicle used in the robbery and, together with the statements of victims and witnesses, officers were able to determine that the origin of the perpetrators was also Ukrainian.
As the investigation progressed, it became clear that one of the alleged perpetrators may have known one of the victims and, therefore, may have known that they had a large amount of cash that they had taken out of Ukraine to buy a house in Spain.
Subsequent investigations allowed the agents to identify all the assailants it was then that they discovered that the ringleader of the group travelled, on several occasions and on the same day, between Malaga, Alicante and Madrid.
The investigation then led officers to discover a criminal network which was allegedly extorting money from fellow Ukrainians who handled large amounts of cash, as well as planning and executing drug dumps.
Finally, and once all the information had been compiled, the agents set up the corresponding operation which culminated in the four arrests and five house searches in Madrid (3) and Malaga (2).
In these searches, effects directly related to the robbery were seized, including firearms, balaclavas, shackles, ammunition, walkie-talkie transmission equipment, more than 20,000 euros in cash, various foreign number plates, a vehicle which had been reported stolen and other items.