THE Guardia Civil made eight arrests in six Alicante province municipalities as they swooped on an international marihuana-producing group.
There were five Croatians, a Serbian and Bosnian amongst those detained in Alicante City, Elche, Playa de San Juan, Jijona, Onil and Penaguila.
The only female in the group was a 46-year-old Spanish woman, although a Serbian woman is also under investigation.
The year-long operation uncovered six highly productive laboratories and if the group not been detected they would have become one of Spain’s largest growers and international traffickers, the Guardia Civil said.
The investigation began after the force received a tipoff from a suspicious Onil resident and although the property was empty, officers found 300 marihuana plants and more than 20 kilos of buds.
More importantly they discovered paperwork revealing that the Guardia Civil had chanced upon a large-scale enterprise with international contacts.
They discovered that the setup was masterminded by three Croat brothers living in Playa de San Juan. They also ran an agricultural business that acted as a front for the marijuana production, enabling them to buy equipment and supplies without arousing suspicions.
Six members of the group, who all face drugs charges and fraudulent use of electricity, have been remanded while the remainder were released on bail.