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Police break up Costa del Sol gang that sent drugs to UK in boxes of brocolli and cauliflower
Crime

Police break up Costa del Sol gang that sent drugs to UK in boxes of brocolli and cauliflower

Five individuals have been arrested for allegedly obtaining hashish to be hidden among shipments of frozen vegetables

SUR

Malaga

Friday, 9 February 2024, 18:21

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National Police in Malaga province have seized 1,868 kg of hashish and dismantled a criminal gang allegedly involved in obtaining drugs in Spain to be distributed in the UK. Five individuals have been arrested. One gang member had an international arrest warrant issued against him by British authorities. In the operation, 45kg of marijuana, 580g of ketamine, five vehicles, eight mobile phones, 2,885 euros, and several false documents were also seized, according to a statement from the National Police.

Officers from Fuengirola police station, who are leading the investigation, initially opened it midway through 2023, after first learning of an organised criminal gang which was allegedly involved in obtaining drugs to send to the UK, hidden among shipments of frozen foods.

The initial investigations led to the location and identification of several of the suspects, when it was found that they were keeping consignments of drugs - mainly hashish and marijuana - at a property in Marbella.

Following these investigations, officers confirmed that they were dealing with a highly specialised gang, revealing their use of false documentation to rent houses and vehicles which they used for their activities, as well as the considerable counter-surveillance measures which they carried out on a daily basis.

Over the course of the police operation, investigators detected an increase in the gang's activity over the summer months, observing an incessant movement of vehicles in the house under investigation.

At one of the entrances, officers found two cars, one supposedly acting as a "shuttle" and another which had apparently been loaded with drugs, after which they proceeded to follow the suspects to a meeting point in the town of Santiponce, in Seville.

At this location, the suspects handed over the van to two other individuals who drove it to a warehouse at a nearby industrial estate. Minutes later, these two individuals appeared to return the vehicle to its original drivers.

Frozen brocolli and cauliflower,

It was at this point that the officers came on to the scene and arrested everyone involved, discovering 1,868kg of hashish and 45kg of marijuana inside the warehouse, all of which was hidden in boxes of frozen brocolli and cauliflower, which was to be transported to the UK.

The gang had created a shell company, using frontmen to make the goods seem legal and to carry out their activities with impunity.

The last phase of the operation was carried out in December, concluding with a total of five detentions for drug trafficking, involvement in an organised criminal gang and forgery.

One suspect fled the scene of the arrests and was later intercepted, which added to his previous charges those of attacking an officer and committing a crime against road safety, among others.

Officers from the organised crime unit in Seville cooperated in the search of the warehouse, which brought the investigation to a close. Three of the arrested suspects have been remanded in custody.

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