Guardia Civil officers search a lorry. / SUR

Video | Police smash gang that trafficked drugs hidden among cauliflowers

Officers raided properties along the coast - in Malaga, Marbella and Estepona - and, in total, 11 people were arrested. The seized vegetables were delivered to a food bank in Malaga

ÁLVARO FRÍAS / JUAN CANO

Guardia Civil officers on the coast sensed something was wrong when they spotted lorries, supposedly loaded with vegetables, leaving a warehouse on an industrial estate in Malaga. And their police instinct did not fail them as, when they intercepted one of the vehicles, they discovered it was a cover for the real task: transporting drugs.

Among the produce, officers found large quantities of hashish and marijuana that were being distributed from the province to various countries in the European Union.

Christened as 'Operation Torcal', the investigation has resulted in the arrest of eleven alleged drug traffickers and among the items seized in raids was a shipment of marble valued at more than four million euros.

The investigation began at the end of 2020 when the Guardia Civil discovered several individuals making large purchases of marijuana and hashish in the province. They followed the trail to a warehouse on the Guadalhorce industrial estate in Malaga, which is where the gang members used to hide the drugs and prepare them for transport.

Fruit and vegetables

According to the investigators, hashish and marijuana were hidden among legal merchandise, mainly fruit and vegetables, in heavy goods vehicles that transported the drugs to European countries.

One of these lorries, which was loaded with more than 16 tonnes of fresh cauliflowers, was intercepted by the Guardia Civil when it was leaving Malaga province. But in addition to the vegetables, the officers found 142 kilos of hashish and 148 kilos of marijuana. The driver was arrested and the cauliflowers were delivered to Malaga’s Food Bank.

Police raids

The Guardia Civil carried out four searches of homes and two in industrial warehouses in the towns of Malaga, Marbella and Estepona. During these raids, 10 vehicles were seized, 92,000 euros in cash, 7,500 Swedish crowns, 4,230 Swiss francs, a large amount of high-end jewellery and watches. In one of the Marbella warehouses, officers found 178 tonnes of marble with a value of more than four million euros.