The Civil Guard and the National Police, within the framework of the so-called BOTIJO-BUTKUS operation, have dismantled a criminal network established in the province of Jaén, dedicated to the illicit manufacture and trafficking of ammunition and firearms, destined for organizations criminals from Campo de Gibraltar and southern Spain.The Civil Guard investigation began in April 2022 when, in the first phase of the BOTIJO operation, specialists in arms trafficking from the Information Headquarters (UCE3) arrested a person in Madrid who, for years, had been engaged in traffic in ammunition of different calibers, including war ammunition. To do this, he used different internet platforms and private communication systems.During the searches carried out at the homes linked to this detainee, in the provinces of Madrid and Cáceres, five firearms and more than 6,700 metal cartridges of different calibers that this individual possessed pre-ordered for his illicit trafficking were seized.
The analysis of the evidence intervened during this first phase allowed the identification, by the Civil Guard, of several illegal purchasers of ammunition from the first detainee, among which, due to the quantity and type of ammunition acquired, an individual residing in the province of Jaén with a police record for drug trafficking. This made the investigators suspect that the ammunition purchased was being destined for subsequent illicit trafficking or for use in illegal weapons that he himself had.In turn, this individual from Jaén was also being investigated within the framework of his BUTKUS operation by the Special Response Group against Organized Crime (GRECO) of the Campo de Gibraltar of the National Police.
The National Police agents suspected that this person was supplying arms and ammunition to various drug trafficking organizations that would be operating in that area, being the origin of some of the weapons used in various settling of accounts and armed confrontations between rival organizations for control. of the territory, the theft of drug caches in the so-called “overturns” or the protection of the so-called “nurseries” where they store and hide such substances.
Coordination of both investigations through CITCO
Through the coordination mechanisms of the Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), both investigations were coordinated, beginning a joint operation on this individual between both police forces. The joint investigation made it possible to find out that the person under investigation was engaged in the illegal manufacture of large quantities of ammunition, calibers of short arms and weapons of war, such as the 7.62×39 caliber used by AK47 assault rifles. This ammunition was later sold illegally together with the weapons and other accessories, such as high-capacity magazines for pistols, which are totally prohibited to individuals, or even bulletproof vests.The agents confirmed that this man’s wife, in addition to being aware of his illegal activities, collaborated with him in them. Likewise, a third individual was identified, also a resident of Jaén, who acted as an intermediary to supply him with illegal firearms, which in turn the main person investigated resold to third parties both in the province itself and in southern Spain.Last January, and after having located the places where those investigated hid their weapons, these three people were arrested and two entries and searches were carried out in which the following effects were intervened:
- 21 firearms.
- 7,846 metallic cartridges of different calibers (9mm parabellum, 7.65 mm., 44 magnum, 45, 38 special, 380 auto., 6.35 mm., etc.)
- Eight bulletproof vests.
- A silencer.
- Two Glock pistol frames with their serial numbers erased.
- 35 high capacity magazines, most for Glock pistols.
- 12.5 kg of gunpowder, 10,400 pistons or primers, 10,250 cases and 1,250 projectiles for the illegal manufacture of stumps.
- €16,445 in cash.
- A clandestine workshop for the illegal manufacture of ammunition equipped with a reloading press, a ram, and various sets of DIEs for the illegal manufacture of metal ammunition for short-arm and long-arm calibers, including the calibers used by VZ-61 (Scorpio) type submachine guns. ) and AK47 – Kalashnikov type assault rifles, which due to their small size and firepower are the weapons most used by criminal organizations.
In addition to one of the detainees, more than 300 bottles of refrigerant gas with a greenhouse effect were seized for illegal trade, with about 3,000 kg. of gas valued at more than 180,000 euros. This type of gas is prohibited for damaging the ozone layer. This same detainee was also discovered at his home a “farm” for mining cryptocurrencies. This type of farm needs a huge amount of electricity, so the detainee had made an illegal connection to the network to defraud the electricity supply.The detainees are charged with the crimes of arms trafficking, illegal manufacture of ammunition, trafficking and ammunition deposit, deposit of explosives, against the environment, smuggling of prohibited gases and fraud of electricity.The joint operation has prevented the large number of seized ammunition and weapons from reaching the hands of criminal organizations or from being used by them, with the unforeseeable and serious consequences that this could have entailed for citizen security. Precisely the links between arms trafficking and organized crime, especially drug trafficking, make the fight against this threat one of the priorities of both the National Security Strategy and the current Political Cycle of the European Union.The operation has been carried out by the Information Headquarters (UCE 3) of the Civil Guard, jointly with the GRECO of Campo de Gibraltar of the National Police; with the support of the Information Groups of the Civil Guard Commands of Jaén, Madrid and Cáceres, the Information Section of the Andalusian Zone, the Cynological Service of the Civil Guard, the Reserve and Security Group No. 2 of Seville , the SEPRONA and USECIC of the Jaén Command, the GEDEX of the Granada Command and the UDYCO of the Algeciras Police Station.