SPANISH police officers have smashed a gang that specialised in the theft of vehicles for subsequent sale in Africa. Investigators also found that several of the vehicles had been used in robbery attacks on pharmacies before being shipped to Morocco.
Eight people have been arrested and 57 vehicles have been recovered. Equipment used to falsify number plates was also seized in a raid on a rural farm in Paracuellos del Jaram.
The Guardia Civil’s Operation MUTALA, said that the gang were also accused of robberies with force in eight pharmacies in the province of Madrid.
The investigation began after agents obtained information from different maritime ports that showed several vehicles destined for Morocco of the same model, of different colours and characteristics, but all of them with the same license plate numbering.
Agents said the ringleader ordered the gang members to steal vehicles of the same make and model that he and his family had legally acquired to later forge the number plates and chassis numbers with the data of their legal ones.
It is claimed the man, of Moroccan origin, sent two cars a week to the African continent.
The alleged head of the group also used his own family members with ‘specialist’ jobs to commit the crimes. Police said his eldest son stole vehicles, another managed the falsification of identifying elements and a third, along with a cousin, stole high-end vehicles to commit robberies with force in pharmacies at weekends.
Once the vehicles were stolen and, before moving them to Paracuellos del Jarama, they were parked on public roads for a few days to verify that there were no surveillance measures on them.
On the day of the raids 25 vehicles parked in different streets in Madrid were recovered, of which five had the same license plate.