Customs and TradeDrugsNews

Dismantled a criminal organization dedicated to the introduction of cocaine financed with tobacco smuggling

Agents of the Spanish National Police, in a joint operation with the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency, have dismantled a criminal organization based in the provinces of Seville and Cádiz that was allegedly dedicated to the introduction and subsequent distribution of large amounts of cocaine that he acquired with the profits obtained by smuggling tobacco.

The operation, directed by the head of the Investigating Court number 4 of Seville with the support of the Prosecutor’s Office, has resulted in the arrest of ten people from this network and the seizure of half a ton of cocaine, more than 800 kilos of contraband tobacco, several vehicles, cash and other effects after carrying out a dozen searches in ships and homes that the organization had scattered in eight towns in the provinces of Cádiz and Seville.

The operation began at the beginning of this year, when investigators learned of the existence of a criminal organization that intended to introduce a large amount of cocaine into the province of Seville, using containers from South America.

Cocaine in a load of wooden pallets

As a result of the different investigative steps, and after a careful analysis of the customs documentation, the arrival at the port of Algeciras of two containers with content declared ‘wooden pallets’ was detected. Originating in Asunción (Paraguay), the merchandise was going to be imported by a company based in the province of Seville, related to the organization that was already being investigated. The container route, which began in Paraguay, continued through Argentina and Morocco, until reaching Spain. 

At the beginning of last March, the containers arrived at the port of Algeciras, proceeding to their unloading and inspection of the content. Inside one of the containers, behind two wooden pallets, a kind of chest was found containing a total of 500 rectangular packages of cocaine, approximately one kilo each.

Container Tracking

After its discovery, agents of the National Police and officials of the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency in Seville, proceeded to carry out the monitoring and controlled delivery of the containers.

Days later, the container that transported the drug, following orders from the smuggling organization, was taken to a ship located in the town of Santiponce (Seville). As a result of the special monitoring operation, four individuals were arrested: one of them inside the ship, another who carried out counter-surveillance tasks in the surroundings, also the leaseholder of the ship and, finally, the administrator of the company importer.

Next, six entries and searches were carried out in different homes and warehouses in the Seville towns of Santiponce, Camas, Valencina de la Concepción and Seville capital, seizing 808 kilos of chopped tobacco in one of them and thereby uncovering the involvement of two new companies in tobacco smuggling.

Subsequently, it was possible to retain the shipment, already underway, of 28.5 kilos more of cut tobacco on behalf of the two companies involved, bringing the total amount of cut tobacco seized to 836.5 kilos.

In this way, the use of tobacco smuggling to obtain the necessary financing to defray the costs of buying and introducing the drug was revealed. 

New records and arrests

In a later phase, already this April, another six searches were carried out in different addresses and warehouses located in the Seville towns of Gines, Mairena del Aljarafe, Camas and Palomares del Río, as well as in Algeciras (Cádiz).

Six other people related to previous drug trafficking and tobacco smuggling operations were also arrested. Electronic devices, three vehicles, a motorcycle, a frequency detector, numerous documents and 29,000 euros in cash were seized.