MORE than 30,000 cannabis plants destined for the United Kingdom have been seized across 15 indoor plantations as a 31 strong criminal organisation with Chinese leadership has been shattered.
The joint operation by the National Police, the Tax Agency and the Guardia Civil has confiscated around €45,000 worth of marijuana, a semiautomatic pistol with ammunition and a cash counting machine as 15 plantations spanning eight provinces were raided.
Members of the group transformed the interior of warehouses and houses to accommodate as many crops as possible.
They cost electricity companies hundreds of thousands of euros by hacking into the electrical network which powered the equipment needed to grow the illicit substance.
The banned drug was prepared for consumption in Spain before being sent to the UK via courier companies in hidden packages ranging from five to 15 kilograms.
In an operation lasting almost a year, police worked tirelessly to break down a meticulously cunning criminal body.
The organisation exercised great caution, using fraudulent documentation for vehicles, housing and electricity.
Each member had a specific role which made their criminal activities extremely difficult to identify.
Isolated cottages as well as warehouses in quiet industrial estates were selected as sites and within a matter of days seeds, pots, soil and other growing equipment could be set up.
The growers remained inside the makeshift plantations throughout the process, receiving food and water via deliveries.
Camera surveillance was used on the plantations and such was the fear of intervention from rival gangs that armed Ukrainian guards were hired.
Also provided by Chinese nationals, so-called insurance was taken out on the product which covered losses in the event of police intervention.
The now-dismantled group operated across a vast area of Spain covering: Vizcaya, Burgos, Valladolid, León, Zamora, Salamanca, Madrid and Guadalajara.