Agents of the Spanish National Police have dismantled a criminal organization, based on the coasts of Cádiz and Málaga, allegedly dedicated to drug trafficking through the preparation and conditioning of narco-boats for the maritime transport of hashish from Morocco. Once imported, the substances were hidden in industrial warehouses for rent to later be transported by truck to countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The framework had a network of collaborators in Andalusia, Extremadura, Murcia and the Valencian Community.
The ‘Viñas’ macro-operation has been carried out in nine operational phases and has culminated in the arrest of 21 people, in addition to the intervention of 296 kilograms of vacuum-packed marijuana buds hidden among lettuce in a refrigerated truck, 80 kilograms of hashish found in a double bottom on the cargo doors of a trailer, eight boats, half a dozen outboard motors, four trailers, three truck heads, 4,200 liters of fuel and some 16,000 euros in cash, among other items.
Rental of industrial buildings without apparent activity
The investigation began in mid-2021 after the detection of a criminal group allegedly dedicated to hashish trafficking in large quantities. To develop the illicit activity, the plot provided itself with boats with powerful engines that allowed them to make fast journeys between the coasts of Campo de Gibraltar and Morocco -place of origin of the substances-. The agents verified that the police pressure on the coasts of Cádiz and Málaga would have led the organization to spread to other areas, counting on an extensive network of collaborators in Almería and the regions of Extremadura, Murcia and the Valencian Community.
According to the proceedings carried out, the plot rented ships -with no apparent commercial activity- where they conditioned the narco-boats with high-power engines, navigation systems and, ultimately, the electronics and elements necessary for the voyage. Once the boats were prepared, they were transported in trucks and trailers to the shores of Campo de Gibraltar where they were thrown into the sea. The drug imported from Morocco was later hidden in the ships and prepared in trucks that left by road to European countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Marijuana buds among lettuce
In one of the initial phases of the ‘Viñas’ operation carried out in an industrial warehouse in Corbera (Valencia), the agents seized 296 kilograms of vacuum-packed marijuana buds in different bags hidden among lettuce, inside a refrigerated trailer, and arrested the driver and his passenger.
In another later phase developed in Murcia, the agents intervened in 40 packages of hashish with a total gross weight of 80 kilograms in the double bottoms of the doors of a trailer -facts collected in a video attached to the press release-. The phase concluded with eight detainees and seven searches in Murcia, Almería, El Ejido and Córdoba.
The investigation lasted until recently with a total of 21 people arrested for their alleged responsibility in the crimes of drug trafficking, money laundering, smuggling and belonging to a criminal organization, and the intervention of extensive logistics aimed at drug trafficking: eight boats, half a dozen outboard motors, four trailers, three truck heads, a crane to move pneumatic boats, 4,200 liters of fuel, among other effects.
Likewise, a patrimonial investigation was carried out on those investigated that allowed the prohibition, by members of the plot, to alienate and dispose of a fleet of 45 vehicles -valued at 1,472,000 euros- and a property valued at another 150,000 euros.