A DRUG trafficking operation has lost 13 members, several guns, much ammunition and 115 kilograms of cocaine due to brilliant arrests made by the Guardia Civil.
The narcotics were found hidden inside gas cylinders and electrical batteries as they were transported from South America into Spain for distribution.
The arrests and seizures were made as part of a wider effort involving the authorities of the directorate of French customs, the Dutch RST and the Colombian counter narcotics operation directorate.
The operation had been developed on the island of Gran Canaria, as members sailed the product from South America’s Caribbean coastline and across into Europe via the Canary Islands.
Contact had been made with cocaine producers in Colombia with the Spain-based traffickers operating within Gran Canaria, the community of Madrid and the Basque Country, according to the Guardia Civil and National Police.
The operation first began around October 2014, as authorities learned of groups based in Galicia attempting to land large amounts of cocaine into Spain. Many criminal networks are thought to have been involved with links to Cuba, Grenada and Bonaire amongst the list.
The leader of the operation himself made personal contact with Colombian cartels, thus securing all future supply. Using their own various sailing vessels, the organisation subsequently moved large amounts across seas.
Electrical and gas systems on the boats were well modified so that the drugs could be concealed within them. Another important move was to consistently change the flags of their foreign boats thus obtaining easy entry into the Caribbean and hindering any investigation.
During mid-December 2015 one of the organisation’s boats was located south of the Azores, prompting an immediate strike by the Guardia Civil, GEO and National Police. After assaulting and thus capturing the vessel, it was moved to Las Palmas for inspection. A total 115 kilos of cocaine were then found perfectly camouflaged inside the gas and electrical components.
Having arrested the skipper, a dozen more arrests were soon made within various parts of Spain including Gran Canaria, Madrid, Vizcaya and Alava, which then uncovered handguns, semi-automatic rifles, ammunition, substantial amounts of cash and high-end vehicles.