Officers intercepted a luxury craft in Benalmádena Marina. Guardia Civil

Nine Brits arrested after UK and Spain collaborate to smash drug trafficking network on Costa del Sol

The criminal gang allegedly used luxury leisure craft to introduce large quantities of cocaine from South America into Malaga province and the United Kingdom



Friday, 7 July 2023, 13:52


Spain’s Guardia Civil police force, working in collaboration with the British National Crime Agency (NCA), has smashed a drug trafficking network allegedly using luxury leisure craft on the Costa del Sol.

Operation Eulalia uncovered a criminal organisation dedicated to the introduction of large quantities of cocaine from South America into Malaga province and the United Kingdom.

Nine members of the gang have been arrested, all of them British, the Civil Guard said in a statement.

During the different phases of the operation, searches were carried out in Mijas Costa and Benalmáden, as well as in the United Kingdom, during which 3,754 kilograms of cocaine, two luxury recreational boats, a vehicle and a large number of mobile phones were seized.

The operation began as a result of a fiscal control carried out in Puerto Marina, in Benalmádena, in which authorities observed a boat that raised the suspicions of the officers. Initially, 18 packages of cocaine, weighing one kilogram each, wrapped in black plastic were found inside a chest located on the deck. Two British nationals were arrested. After requesting the judicial authority to search the cabins of the boat, another 166 packages of cocaine pills were seized.

After an exchange of information with British NCA officers, it was learned that the same people were being investigated in the United Kingdom and collaboration between the two countries was initiated.

Luxury boats

The organisation which was in charge of managing the logistics and distribution of the drug, allegedly used two luxury recreational boats with which they sailed to previously arranged points where merchant ships from Brazil dumped watertight bags containing cocaine into the sea.

The members of the criminal network collected them from the sea and transported them to marinas on the Malaga coast. The drugs were kept in secure homes for its subsequent transport and distribution in the United Kingdom.

In raids carried out in the United Kingdom, 2.37 tonnes of cocaine were seized, and seven other nationals who were members of the alleged gang were arrested.

Ongoing investigations are now in the hands of courts in Torremolinos.

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