The Spanish Civil Guard, within the framework of the Pinarel operation, has dismantled an important criminal organization dedicated to international marijuana trafficking based in Barcelona. After more than two years of investigation, 34 people have been arrested, with 17 more and four legal entities investigated for drug trafficking or money laundering. More than 12.6 tons of processed marijuana ready for consumption, 160,000 marijuana plants, more than half a ton of hashish, more than a kilo of cocaine and 45,000 euros in cash have been seized.
Agents of the Civil Guard of the Organic Unit of the Judicial Police of Barcelona began the investigation in the summer of 2020 when they obtained information about a criminal organization based in that Catalan province and that transported drugs throughout the national territory.
Movements throughout Spain
In August 2020, two vehicles from Malaga with 185 kilos of hashish were intercepted in Vilafranca del Penedés. The transport was carried out using the “go fast” methodology, consisting of sending a high-capacity vehicle as a shuttle to verify that the route is clear of police presence and make a second car loaded with drugs reach its destination. .
Just a month before, the Ceuta Command had seized around 330 kilos of hashish in a police operation camouflaged in a garbage truck. The agents were able to determine that they had been by the organization under investigation in Barcelona.
After a first linking of the objectives, in November 2020 several searches were carried out at the homes of some of the most active members of the organization in the Barcelona towns of Rubí and Vilafranca del Penedés. This caused a month later an intervention in the port of Barcelona of 80 kilos of processed marijuana camouflaged inside illicit merchandise on pallets destined for Cyprus.
As a result of the actions carried out in 2020, in February 2021 an important operation was carried out where 16 properties were simultaneously registered in three blocks of flats in the Pinar de Rubí neighbourhood. In them, flats whose structure had been modified to install indoor marijuana plantations were located, completely manipulating the electrical installation of the flats. On this occasion, 1,350 plants, a compressed air pistol, a taser pistol, a katana and several machetes were seized.
Meanwhile, in Montcada i Reixac, another branch of the organization in charge of both wholesale distribution by postal parcel and small-scale distribution through retail in the province was being dismantled.
The existence within the organization of Swiss nationals of Turkish origin who organized massive international shipments of marijuana to Switzerland was also detected. To give the appearance of legality to the transport, they used documents based on false analyzes of the transported hemp, eluding an eventual seizure of the substance by the Security Forces and Bodies.
This activity could be verified after the intervention shortly after a truck by the Civil Guard in the province of Albacete that contained four tons of processed marijuana ready for sale and consumption bound for Switzerland. In the same way, another six tons of marijuana and 120,000 plants were seized in a farm in Almería, also being linked to the same organization investigated in Barcelona.
Thanks to the analysis of the information obtained in the operations carried out to date throughout the national territory, in September 2021 another operation was carried out in the Granada town of Motril where 31,000 more plants were intervened.
With the progress of the investigation and in collaboration with the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), it was possible to relate the criminal organization to three business companies that had administrative authorization limited to the sale of cannabis of a certain variety and percentage of THC (active ingredient of the plant) intended for research and medical purposes. These companies were established in Castalla (Alicante), Tuéjar (Valencia) and Sant Quirze del Vallès (Barcelona). After registering its headquarters, 12,000 marijuana plants and 2.5 tons of processed marijuana were seized, verifying that they diverted the legal use of cannabis to the illicit market, with different varieties and levels of THC much higher than those allowed.
In the Pinarel operation carried out by the Organic Unit of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard of Barcelona in collaboration with the Commanders of Ceuta, Alicante, Valencia, Albacete and the AEMPS, 34 people have been arrested and 17 investigated for the crimes of drug trafficking, belonging to a criminal organization, illegal possession of weapons, electricity fraud and money laundering.
14 marijuana plantations have been dismantled and a total of 160,000 marijuana plants have been intervened, 12.6 tons of processed marijuana, half a ton of hashish, 1.3 kilograms of cocaine, 3.2 kilos of cutting substances, 45,000 euros , a submachine gun, a rifle, two compressed air pistols, a taser pistol and a multitude of white weapons. The operation has been directed by the Court of Instruction No. 2 of Sagunto (Valencia).