Dismantled a criminal organization dedicated to drug trafficking led by a 79-year-old woman

Agents of the Spanish National Police, in a joint operation with the Civil Guard and the Judicial Police of Portugal, have arrested three people of Spanish nationality in the Portuguese town of Vila-Real as alleged perpetrators of a crime of drug trafficking and belonging to criminal organization. They are a 79-year-old woman from Tarragona, and two men, 26 and 60, from Alicante and Girona.

The investigation focused on a group that traveled different parts of Spain, especially Andalusia, seeking funding for their criminal activity related to cocaine trafficking from South America. The contacts aimed at obtaining financial resources were maintained with other groups of drug traffickers, in this case specialized in the sale and final distribution of the drug. This way of acting was striking to the investigators as it was not especially practiced by criminal organizations dedicated to the importation of cocaine.

The three members of this organization operated under the guise of the legality provided by a company that they had set up with a tax and social headquarters in a town in northern Portugal. 

The financing they had obtained from the groups that should finally receive the drug was used to defray the legal expenses that the ‘screen’ company originated, derived from the importation of the legal product that would mask drug trafficking, in this case coral stone from Dominican Republic, transported in containers in whose chassis the cocaine was traveling.

The collaboration between the three police forces allowed an inspection to be carried out at the company’s headquarters in Portugal, when one of the imported containers had been deposited there and in which it was declared to be legally transporting coral stone. This inspection revealed that the structure of the container had been modified by making a rectangular hole, with highly professional cutting tools, where to hide the cocaine.

Immediately afterwards, an entry and search was made at the home where the three members of the group resided at that time, discovering inside the house a sports bag that contained cylindrical blocks that weighed 15 kilograms and inside which they hid the cocaine.

Structure of the criminal organization

The criminal organization had a hierarchical structure where the 79-year-old woman exercised the functions of leader of the group, in addition to being the visible head and owner of the company created as a screen for which she carried out import and commercial management procedures.

In the case of the other two members of the group, one of them was the handler of the tools and the person in charge of extracting the drug from the container. The other man was carrying out coordination and supervision of his activities to confirm that the operation he carried out to consummate the introduction of the drug was carried out as planned.

The National Police, the Civil Guard and the Judicial Police of Portugal continue to investigate the activities of this criminal organization, not ruling out further arrests.