Drugs gang caught bringing 160 million euros worth of cocaine into the Canary Islands

Drugs gang caught bringing 160 million euros worth of cocaine into the Canary Islands

A Guardia Civil operation against drug trafficking has led to the arrest of fifty people and the seizure of 4,800 kilos of hashish and 1,962 kilos of cocaine. The criminal organization they were investigating was based in Huelva and Campo de Gibraltar, with links to Portugal. According to the authorities, they are responsible for the majority of boats carrying drugs throughout Spain.

The operation, known as 'Castle', began in 2022 when the Guardia Civil became aware of the criminal organization, and lasted for several months thanks to the collaboration of the Portuguese, French and British authorities.

The agents intercepted three caches of hashish during the operation, one of them near the mouth of the Guadiana River in Portugal, another between Algeciras and Tarifa, and a third on the Guadalquivir River by Cadiz.

The organization had its headquarters in the Campo de Gibraltar and worked with another clan in the province of Huelva, who launched the boats through Portugal. Last summer, officers searched 21 houses in the towns of Moguer, Lucena del Puerto, Bonares, and Niebla in the province of Huelva and San Roque, La Línea, and Alcalá de los Gazules in Cádiz, arresting 19 people. They also seized two fast boats, eight 350HP engines, 3,750 litres of fuel, and six vehicles, as well as electronic and communication devices.

The operation made it possible for police to verify that a part of the organization had loaded drugs onto a boat on the west coast of Morocco destined for mainland Spain and that the crew in charge of transporting, upon learning that the heads and members of the organization were being detained by the Guardia, realised they couldn’t unload the drugs where they had planned.

Because of this, the crew members of the boat contacted another criminal organization based here in the Canary Islands to help them smuggle the drugs through the beach of El Roque, in La Aldea in Gran Canaria. However, the Guardia Civil sent a team to intercept them and stopped a semi-rigid rib with three 375HP engines powering it, and an abandoned van with 1,962 kilograms of cocaine inside worth 160,000,000 euros

Drugs gang caught bringing 160 million euros worth of cocaine into the Canary Islands

The Guardia Civil have been able to dismantle the organization located in the Canary Islands after the discovery on Aldea beach, raiding four houses in the towns of Telde and La Aldea de San Nicolás, and arresting five more members.

Operation 'Castle' has been carried out by the Regional Centre for Analysis and Intelligence against drug trafficking together with the Canary Islands Organized Crime Team of the Central Operating Unit, the Commands of Seville, Huelva, and Las Palmas, all coordinated by Europol. International collaboration has been essential for the success of the operation, which demonstrates the importance of cooperation between countries in the fight against drug trafficking.