Santona jail exposed as centre of a crime spree

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Guardia Civil
Part of the seized haul

AMAZING details were released by the Guardia Civil on May 20 that in an operation entitled “Overbooking” it has smashed an organisation made up of prisoners in the Dueso prison in the town of Santona (Cantabria).

This enterprising group arranged for the introduction and distribution of drugs in that prison. Following investigations Operation Overbooking discovered no less than four additional groups also involved in the sale of hashish and other drugs via the internet.

In all 32 people have been arrested in Cantabria, Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa, comprising 17 Spaniards, 14 Moroccans and one Argentinean. Of those arrested, five of them are prisoners from Dueso.

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With a number of raids, the Guardia Civil discovered in no less than 28 homes, garages, storage rooms and a local hostelry, 300 kilos of hashish, more than 4,000 pills of clonazepam, nearly 2,500 grams of marijuana buds, indoor marijuana plantations, over 700 grams of speed, 100 grams of cocaine, substance cutting material, small amounts of other narcotic substances, more than €47,000 in cash, seven vehicles, 61 mobile phones, phone cards, scales, computers and four foreign number plates .

In addition, they also seized an automatic pistol, two revolvers, a rifle with silencer, and 287 cartridges of different calibres.

This has been a very long investigation which started in late 2014 when the management of the prison reported that an inmate who had returned from a home visit had to be rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that he had ingested 80 wrapped balls of hashish and that one had broken open in his body.

Following this incident, agents recognised an individual who led the network, which took advantage of prison leave of inmates to smuggle drugs into the prison. In addition, the ringleader was giving instructions to his girlfriend to buy the drugs and provide them to the inmates who were on leave.

The Guardia Civil found that drugs were being sold in Cantabria and Vizcaya and realized that the girl friend was not only laundering much of the money but was also collecting debts from the families of men in prison who had taken drugs on credit.

As the investigation proceeded, so the officers investigated six different bank accounts and discovered a farm with 22 breeding cows and a bull occupied by the girl friend, with the animals allegedly purchased with money from drug payments from that prison.

As a result of this investigation, the Civil Guard proceeded to dismantle four other organisations dedicated to trafficking in hashish, marijuana and speed. It should be noted that one of these organisations was responsible for introducing significant amounts of hashish from Morocco to northern Spain.

Not only were drugs being imported into Spain but the cartels were also in possession of 4,000 tablets of clonazepam (a medicine belonging to the group of benzodiazepines a powerful sedative and anxiolytic), which were seized already packaged ready to be sent to Morocco to be mixed with hashish and thereby form the so-called “Karkubi” (a dangerous combination that can cause hallucinations and psychotic behaviour).

The operation continues.

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