Gang netted millions from fake copper

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National Police have dismantled a crime gang which was selling scrap metals at the price of copper and making millions in the process.

The gang would make cubes of the low quality scrap metal and then put a fine layer of copper over the top of it making it look like solid copper.

For a year and a half they sold between 80 and 120 tonnes every week and made profits of between €192,000 and €320,000.

Three workers at a metals plant were working with the gang to accept the cubes and confirm their ‘quality.’

Fifteen people have been detained in Huelva and Barcelona, among them the leader of the gang.

Investigations began when a series of financial transactions came to the attention of the police; a scrap metal group was frequently moving sums of up to €120,000. Initial enquiries revealed that the money was being moved by a family, whose business was scrap metal, and some of the workers at the family’s businesses. There were no tax records of the transactions and, as such, police suspected tax evasion, money laundering, belonging to a criminal group, falsification of documents, swindling and possible illegal possession of firearms.

The MO of the gang was as follows: in their factory the gang would make 60x60x60 cubes which they would fill with the scrap metal and then cover with copper. The cubes would then go to a foundry in Huelva where the gang had three workers who would then confirm the cubes as good quality and have them passed through the system. In this way the gang was pocketing up to €320,000 every month.

When the police raided the warehouse and factory of the gang they found cash hidden in fire extinguishers which confirmed that illegal business was going on. They also found illegal firearms at the home of one of the detainees. The raids produced two firearms (revolvers), more than 100 bullets, two knives, two money-counting machines, four computers, three specially prepared fire extinguishers (for hiding the cash), 11 number plates and a lot of false paperwork.

The 15 detainees are all on remand until further notice.

 

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