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More than 26 tons of unregulated phytosanitary products seized

The Central Operational Environment Unit (UCOMA) of the Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) of the Civil Guard, in collaboration with the OCLAESP of the French Gendarmerie, and coordinated by EUROPOL, has dismantled a criminal organization in Irún (Gipuzkoa) , high intensity, dedicated to the distribution and sale of unregulated phytosanitary products.In the two phases in which the “Kaltegarria” operation has been carried out, a total of five searches have been carried out, one of them in the French town of Castres. More than 26 tons of unregulated phytosanitary products have been seized and a total of 22 people have been arrested/investigated, accused of belonging to a criminal organization, crimes against natural resources and the environment, against public health, catastrophic risk, document falsification, and money laundering. Additionally, a total of nine legal entities have been investigated for the events described. In addition, almost 23,000 euros in cash, eight vehicles (one of them in France) have been seized and 14 bank accounts have been blocked.

Structured organization within a family clan

The organization was made up of three brothers who held the administrative body, established since 2020. One of them was the owner of the records of the online sales websites and the other two carried out activities related to the storage and distribution of chemical products. . Furthermore, the brothers’ father carried out logistics operations, loading and unloading phytosanitary products for professional use, lacking the authorization required for these tasks. This function was carried out both in the commercial warehouse and in a clandestine warehouse of a storage company.This work was carried out both in the commercial warehouse and in a clandestine warehouse of a storage company.

Modus operandi of the criminal organization

The organization obtained the products clandestinely and stored them at the company headquarters located in Irún (Gipuzkoa) and a warehouse located near said headquarters.

They then announced the products for sale on the Internet through the company’s website on different e-commerce platforms, to any user and country. Likewise, they distributed the phytosanitary products from the storage location through parcel companies of French or Spanish distributors, or with their own vehicles.

With all this, the premises where the group kept the products did not meet adequate conditions for storage and gave rise to poor application of the product by the people who acquired and handled them. It is estimated that the aforementioned criminal organization has obtained an illegal profit close to five million euros, derived from the illicit sale of the aforementioned chemical products in national territory, as well as to various countries on the European continent, notably France.