A group of smugglers fired shots at Spanish police officers during a drugs operation near Algeciras yesterday, one of two incidents in the Campo de Gibraltar that ended with over eight tonnes of cannabis resin worth nearly £40m being seized.
Officers on a routine patrol near the Botafuegos prison, on the outskirts of Algeciras, spotted suspicious activity in a rural property but came under fire as they approached the buildings to investigate.
“Some of the shots hit the ground just a few centimetres from the officers,” the Policia Nacional said in a statement.
A tense standoff followed as the four smugglers barricaded themselves in the building and police reinforcements were despatched to the area.
A police negotiator spent two hours talking to the group, whose members eventually agreed to surrender.
Video released by the Policia Nacional shows the young men begging for forgiveness as they were forced to the ground and handcuffed by armed officers.
They said they had thought were members of a rival gang trying to steal their drugs, a common practice among increasingly-violent gangs operating in the Campo.
The property was being used as a so-called “drugs nursery” to store shipments ferried across the Strait of Gibraltar for onward distribution into Spain and beyond.
Inside the building, police investigators found 100 bales of cannabis resin weighing 2,500 kilograms, as well as handguns, shotguns and bullet-proof vests.
Earlier that same day in La Linea, police officers pursued a man who started running on seeing the police vehicle.
They chased him to a garage where they surprised a number of youths, one of whom they managed to arrest.
On searching the building, officers discovered an underground bunker hidden beneath a shower plate mounted on a hydraulic system.
Inside the secret room, officers found 172 bales of cannabis resin weighing over 6,000 kilograms.
A van that had been stolen in France was also seized inside the property.