Multi-national members of a violent gang that shipped drugs across Europe and posed as police officers to rob other smugglers at gunpoint have been arrested by Spanish law enforcement following an operation spanning nearly two years.
A joint operation between the Guardia Civil and the Policia Nacional led to the arrest of 23 members of the criminal organisation, which was led by two men, one Romanian, the other Spanish, but included people from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Morocco.
The gang was based in Manilva and the Campo and allegedly shipped drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco into Spain, then further into Europe.
Its members are also alleged to have been involved in robbing other traffickers of their drug shipments and cash.
The law enforcement operation started in 2016 when that car sped away from a routine traffic control was later found abandoned with 82 kilograms of cannabis resin inside.
Guardia Civil officers began an investigation and soon found their colleagues in the Policia Nacional were monitoring the same group.
A joint task force was established to conduct surveillance on the group and collect evidence about its illicit activities.
Over the course of the operation, numerous members of the gang including its leaders have been arrested and over 3.5 tonnes of cannabis resin seized, along with 19 vehicle, four firearms and 43 mobile phones.
Officers raided a network of properties that were being used to store drugs and provide logistical support to the gang’s operations.
A number of properties were also seized during the course of the operation.
The results of the operation were announced a day after the Director General of the Spanish police visited the Campo de Gibraltar and announced that an additional 80 officers would be deployed to the area in the coming weeks.
The officers are trainees and will be split between police headquarters in La Linea and Algeciras.