Some of the items seized during Operation Western. Josele

Police bust gang of ex-military men who robbed luxury homes and businesses on the Costa del Sol

The Eastern European criminal organisation was responsible for 64 incidents in Marbella, as well others in Estepona, Malaga and Torremolinos. More than 170 items, including jewellery and high-end watches, have been recovered - as well as weapons used in the raids

María Albarral


Wednesday, 24 January 2024, 18:55


National Police officers have dismantled a criminal organisation based in Marbella made up of ex-military personnel from Eastern Europe who robbed luxury homes and businesses on the Costa del Sol.

Members of the criminal organisation, who were armed and skilled in stealing, have been attributed with 71 thefts from homes and businesses, most of them in luxury residential areas of Marbella.

Operation Western resulted in the arrest of six individuals, including the leader of the gang, an Albanian national who took part in all the robberies and always carried a firearm during the offences.

As a result of the operation, police have recovered 169 pieces of jewellery; high-end watches; luxury handbags and other designer branded items. Officers also seized a pistol - used in all the robberies-; a real shotgun and a dummy shotgun; transmitting equipment; specific clothing for the robberies including boots, balaclavas and gloves; a large machete; tools for robbery with force including drills; computer equipment; and 8,700 euros in cash, among other items.

The investigation, carried out by officers attached to Marbella police station, together with their counterparts in the provincial police headquarters in Malaga, and with the collaboration of various specialist National Police units, has led to the dismantling of one of the most active networks in recent times in the province in relation to robberies with force.

According to the police, the criminal organisation was behind 64 robberies in Marbella, of which 58 were in homes and another six in businesses, as well as seven other criminal acts in Estepona, Malaga and Torremolinos. In total, 71 robberies have been cleared up, four of which were committed with violence or intimidation, as the perpetrators were discovered by the residents.

Modus operandi

The gang of robbers acted in a very sophisticated way that made it difficult for police to carry out the first investigations. The military training of the members of the criminal gang meant that the robberies were executed to perfection leaving few clues..

All locations were extensively studied before the robberies were carried out and targeted luxury homes in Marbella between 7pm and 10pm, taking an average of just 7 to 10 minutes in the property. The action was fast and they had specific tools to break past doors, windows and obstacles that they could find in their way. The fact that many properties were located near golf courses helped them to make their escape easier.

One of the keys to the success of this network was undoubtedly a hideout used as a meeting point located in the Artola area. The gang leader would leave his home in normal clothes and without carrying anything with him, meeting up with one or two cronies, who would take him by vehicle to the area where the hideout was located and where he would change his clothes in order to carry out the robberies.

Then, the person who acted as a driver would take them to the place chosen to commit the robberies, maintaining contact through radio equipment. Finally, after committing the crime, they would make several different stops and make sure they were not being followed. After arriving back at the hideout point, they would change into their clothes to go unnoticed and leave the loot 'to cool down'. Later they would return for it and take it to a car dealership in Malaga city, where they would hide jewellery, money and stolen goods and from where they would take the cars they used for the robberies.

The six people detained face charges including robbery with force, membership of a criminal organisation and money laundering, and four of those investigated were sent to prison before trial, without bail. The judicial proceedings continue under an order of secrecy.

Reporta un error en esta noticia

* Campos obligatorios