Watch as high-speed police chase leads to the discovery of an international drugs network based near Ronda

Shipments of hashish and marijuana were being sent from a town in the Serranía to France, and the gang stamped the face of the Joker on each package as their identifying mark

IRENE QUIRANTE Malaga

A new blow has been dealt to drug trafficking in Malaga province, this time in Arriate, in the Serranía de Ronda, where the police discovered that a French/Moroccan gang was storing its supplies at a property in the countryside. Hundreds of kilos of marijuana and hashish were stashed there, before being sent to France. The traffickers even used their own seal of identity: the face of the Joker was stamped on every pack of the drugs.

Early in their investigation, the police had became suspicious of comings and goings at a house in the countryside near Arriate, and began to watch what was going on. At the beginning of June they saw a goods van leaving the property and heading in the Antequera direction, and decided to follow it.

Police chase

However, a checkpoint had been set up along the route and their suspicions were confirmed when the van driver, instead of slowing down and stopping, accelerated fast in the direction of the officers who were carrying out the checks. One had to leap to one side to avoid being run over.

That marked the start of a pursuit which continued along the roads of Antequera, Archidona and Villanueva de Algaida.

Several National Police, Local Police and Guardia Civil vehicles joined in to try to intercept the van, which rammed one of the police cars on several occasions.

Eventually the driver lost control of the van and crashed in a rural lane, got out of the vehicle and ran away. The police were unable to find him, but when they opened the van they found it contained 186 kilos of marijuana buds, 75 kilos of hashish and a semi-automatic pistol with the magazine loaded.

Property search

The police then carried out a search of the property in Arriate, and found an AK-47 rifle and 360 kilos of hashish in 100 gramme packages, all of which had the face of the Joker stamped on them.

The officers also located a lorry which had been seen leaving the property a few days earlier. It was parked outside Ronda in a rural area which was difficult to access, and there was a hidden storage compartment in the back of the vehicle. The adjoining house was empty, but there was a strong smell of hashish and the police suspect that it too had been used to store the drug.

The investigation is still ongoing as the authorities are trying to ascertain the whereabouts of the Frenchman who had been driving the van, and other members of the gang.