IN a major blow against the Campo de Gibraltar drugs smuggling industry 61 people – including the alleged ringleader – of a ‘logistics network’ have been arrested.
Some 175 police officers took part in 19 raids aimed at a gang that specialised in providing fuel for so called “narcolaunches”.
These are high-powered speedboats that smugglers use to shuttle drugs – mainly hashish – from North Africa to Spain.
The raids were all carried out in La Línea de la Concepción, long known to be the stronghold of several smuggling rings due to its proximity to many deserted beaches ideal for landing illicit cargoes.
During the raids they arrested the 36-year-old alleged head of one of the biggest gangs involved in supplying fuel and other material for the boats.
They also seized more than 10,500 litres of petrol, a total of 1,684 kilos of hashish and four speedboats, which were equipped highly powerful engines and valued at more than €120,000 each.
Also confiscated was more than €75,000 in cash, 11 outboard motors, 11 vehicles used by members of the organisation for their criminal activity, as well as radio equipment for keeping in touch with the boats.
Police also stopped several vehicles, which were driving round the town while carrying up to 1,500 litres of petrol in plastic bottles with no ventilation. Police say this was a reckless risk to public safety.
Of the 61 arrested, eight have been remanded in custody.