Tuesday, 23 January 2024, 15:30
A Costa del Sol-based gang, which was highly specialised in stealing drugs in transit from other organisations, known as 'vuelcos' (overturns) in the jargon of the drug trade, has been smashed by police.
The National Police and Guardia Civil have arrested six people for allegedly belonging to this criminal network.
In order to carry out their hits, they used a strategy which included posing as members of the security forces and installing GPS tracking devices in the vehicles that other gangs were going to use to move the merchandise around. In this way, they could follow them discreetly until, at some point on a motorway, they would 'sandwich' the driver of the drug-running vehicle between several high-end cars before makng off with the drugs haul.
The investigation was opened after a lorry and its refrigerated trailer were attacked at a service area in La Safour (Valencia), on the AP7. The lorry was supposedly carrying a load of fruit and vegetables when it was hijacked by seven people in five vehicles, who obstructed any possible escape route for the lorry driver. The gang members then got out of their cars and took control of the lorry, allegedly even firing a shot inside the cab in view of the victim's opposition.
The driver, who was assaulted by the attackers, was forced into one of the perpetrators' vehicles. He was later released in an open field, but without a mobile phone, wallet or documents. However, the man managed to call the Guardia Civil for help.
Following initial enquiries, the stolen goods were located and, as a result of a thorough technical inspection, it was found that the haul was not the declared load, but that the vehicle had a double bottom containing a large quantity of narcotic substance, specifically hashish.
When it was established that it was a 'rollover', the officers investigated the case until they were able to identify the alleged members of the gang. Apparently, those arrested would use high-end vehicles with false number plates and used a high degree of violence, including the use of firearms to carry out the robbery. Once the vehicle was stolen, it was taken to a secluded place in order to make off with the drugs hidden inside.
The investigators also found that, on other occasions, the suspects aslo posed as police officers to commit the criminal acts.
Operation Oconer-Sorry resulted in the arrest of six people, aged between 33 and 48, of Spanish and Moroccan nationality, for the crimes of robbery with violence and intimidation using a firearm, illegal possession of weapons, illegal detention, vehicle theft, drug trafficking, falsification of documents and membership or integration in a criminal organisation.
A court in Fuengirola ordered the imprisonment of one of them. In addition, six searches were carried out (five in homes and one in a garage) in Mijas, where an electric pistol, a short firearm and another automatic with an ammunition magazine and erased serial number, eighteen 9mm projectiles, tracking devices, frequency inhibitors, GPS signal detectors, National Police and Civil Guard clothing, police documents, a drone, some 6,000 euros in cash, three vehicles and a motorbike were seized.
As a result of the operation, the criminal group based on the Costa del Sol has been dismantled, which was dedicated to drug trafficking, operating both in the Levante area and in the south of Spain.
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