AN A-TEAM-STYLE reproduction of a Guardia Civil police car was used by a crooked mob, who allegedly posed as police officers in order to steal and resell drug caches appropriated from rival gangs.
The cloned patrol vehicle was recovered from a garage in Algeciras at the beginning of March, and police investigations led to the eventual arrest of four suspects in Malaga on Friday April 13.
Among those arrested is a current Guardia Civil officer, an ex-agent, and two accomplices.
The ingenious car is based on a standard Renault Megane, and is a near-perfect replica, with green doors, bonnet, and boot, white sides and bumpers, and custom stickers featuring the Spanish flag and Guardia Civil crest.
It was discovered by chance, when a unit of the Public Safety Brigade in Algeciras spotted it parked in an open garage and assumed it to be a stolen police car, before closer examination revealed the flags, crests and other details to be fake.
The car was immediately seized with specialists from the Drug and Organised Crime Unit (UDYCO) and police scientists called in because the imitation was so professional.
UDYCO agents quickly discovered clues which suggested the car had been used for drug trafficking, and could easily be employed to interrupt deals on the street or beach, or steal larger stashes from other cartels.
Scientific evidence revealed the identities of four men, all from Malaga, who had recently used the car, and their details were included in all police databases in case a patrol should come across them.
The latter move paid off on Friday, when agents from the Prevention and Response Unit stopped one of the suspects during a routine traffic check, and by late morning the other three gang members had been arrested.
Among them was one active Guardia Civil officer, who is currently on leave from his position in a province of northern Spain.