A criminal organization dedicated to international marijuana trafficking is dismantled

The Spanish Civil Guard, within the framework of operation LUMBRE, has dismantled a criminal organization dedicated to international marijuana trafficking (cannabis sativa). This operation resulted in the arrest of 28 people and the investigation of two others for crimes of belonging to a criminal organization, drug trafficking and electricity fraud. 16 searches have been carried out in the provinces of Almería, Málaga, Toledo and Zaragoza, where large amounts of cash and several simulated firearms have been seized.

The operation began in mid-2023, following several operations related to drug trafficking, where several people were involved, most of whom had a history of similar events in other European countries.

As a result of these operations, the agents detected how several members of this organization acquired several consignments of marijuana from different growers located in the province of Almería. Likewise, it was possible to verify how these same members contacted a third person, based in the province of Toledo, who put them in contact with growers in that area to purchase marijuana supplies there at a cheaper price than in Almería. .

Continuing with the investigations, the agents traveled to the province of Toledo where they were able to verify how the members of the organization living there acquired numerous consignments of marijuana, as well as in different locations in the south of Madrid where, later, they packaged and stored it under vacuum in a farm to finally transport it hidden in trucks prepared with double bottoms.
For this reason, a simultaneous operation was established consisting of stopping the transport trucks that were already en route, on their way to other European countries to avoid communication between the members of the organization and to carry out entries and searches in the homes.

In the first phase of exploitation, 7 home searches were carried out in the provinces of Almería, Málaga and Toledo, and the inspection of a truck that was moving through the province of Zaragoza towards the border, loaded with legal merchandise. Once the inspection and search of the truck was carried out, a double bottom was located that hid more than one hundred kilograms of marijuana buds vacuum packed and soaked in bleach. In this action, 11 people were arrested.

In a second phase, 17 people were arrested and another 2 investigated were responsible for the organization’s own marijuana plantations, third-party plantations, and those who bought the productions. Likewise, 9 home searches were carried out in the provinces of Almería and Toledo where 9 indoor marijuana crops with nearly 1,500 plants in an advanced state of growth were seized.

High security measures to hide drugs

The members of the organization with less responsibility contact those responsible for the plantations. On the other hand, other members are responsible for purchasing crops from third parties.

These productions are stored and vacuum packed in different locations with high security measures, “daycare centers”, until we are convinced that they are not being controlled by the police forces.

Later, they transported it in trucks equipped with double bottoms, abroad. It should be noted that the organization sometimes turned to other people, outside the organization, to use them as front men or to be in charge of acquiring vehicles and homes for the necessary logistics of the organization.

Lastly, there were leaders of the organization, based in luxury developments in the provinces of Málaga and Almería, in charge of giving instructions to the other members, under great security measures, through meetings in bars and restaurants which were previously insured to avoid being controlled.

The operation has been developed by the Organized Crime and Anti-Drug Team (EDOA) of the Almería Command and directed by Court No. 3 of Almería and the Special Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office of Almería.