Spanish police in La Linea arrested a gang of smugglers who used drones as part of a sophisticated surveillance operation to avoid detection as they ferried large shipments of drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar.
The gang used drones to monitor the shoreline where they planned to land the drugs, according to Spain’s Policia Nacional.
The 10 men and two women arrested in La Línea are suspected of having imported up to six tonnes of cannabis resin worth more than €5million in reason months.
The ring-leaders of the group were found to have been highly-trained in the use of drones and “used this skill for illicit activities”, the Policía Nacional said in a statement.
The gang was arrested after officers intercepted a 600-tonne shipment of drugs that was being smuggled onto a beach in the province of Almeria.
In addition to the drone, officers seized a radar, a radio-frequency jammer, transmission equipment, eight high-end vehicles, two jet-skis and a large amount of cash.
The gang came to attention of police last April when they were spotted transporting large quantities of petrol suspected to be for the use of boats.
The Policía Nacional kept a close eye on them to see how they carried out their activities.
In a separate operation targeting drug smugglers in the Campo de Gibraltar, a further 32 Spanish nationals were arrested after importing 800 kilos of cannabis resin onto a beach in Puente Mayorga.
Guardia Civil officers kept a close watch on this gang as they would frequently change where the drugs were being dropped off.
The group were seen trying to make their way into international waters to avoid being caught before making their way to Puente Mayorga.
Officers followed the gang to their hideout in San Roque and seized the drugs, the vehicles used to transport the drugs and a firearm, according to the Guardia Civil.