The Spanish Civil Guard dismantles a criminal organization seizing 3,300 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a ship that would make the “African route”

The Spanish Civil Guard, in what has been called operation SUGAR BROWN, has completely dismantled one of the largest Galician organizations, dedicated both to the introduction of large quantities of cocaine and heroin into national territory, having intercepted a fishing boat with 3,300 kilograms of cocaine inside in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, bound for an undetermined point on the coast of Galicia.

Those responsible for this important consignment of cocaine belong to a criminal organization based in Galicia, who used ships to introduce the drug that simulated fishing campaigns in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, close to the African coast.

The investigation began at the beginning of 2022, having been able to prove who would be the people who would manage this entire criminal network, having identified all the members of the organization and its criminal dynamics, having reeled off all the logistical steps that would culminate in the introduction of the narcotic finally apprehended.

African cocaine route

This important operation confirms this international drug trafficking route as one of the routes most used by large drug trafficking organizations, considering it one of the most “safe” and with the greatest guarantee of success for their interests.

In the same way, the Civil Guard has been detecting for some time how certain Galician organizations have gradually increased their infrastructures in this sense to introduce drugs through this itinerary.

In fact, during the development of this investigation, it has been possible to monitor the movement of some members of the investigated organization to Senegal with the aim of personally organizing and coordinating this shipment of cocaine, taking charge of both the freight of the ship and the hiring of the crew, having foreseen in the same way, which boats would go out to meet this ship as it approached its destination. This being one of the rare occasions in which the investigators have been able to prove all the efforts and meetings held that would have culminated in the introduction of a huge amount of cocaine into national territory.

Once the roles of the different identified actors were established in this way, it was possible to observe how they intensified different activities, which would indicate that they were preparing to smuggle the drug.

The agents were also able to find out how the investigated group had sophisticated means to transport the drug through different Spanish provinces, which allowed them to dispense with other shuttle vehicles that would warn of possible police checks, by having sophisticated concealment methods in double bottoms. hydraulics in the vehicles they used, to which was added the use of encrypted messaging between the communications of its members.

Coordination of capacities of the Civil Guard by land, sea and air

The course of the investigation allowed the identification of the ship that would transport the narcotic, as well as those investigated that would carry it out, which motivated the Civil Guard to carry out a deployment of means and coordination of capacities, in order to locate said vessel in the Ocean Atlántico, using means of the Air Service and the Maritime Service of the Civil Guard, who carried out an exhaustive search. It should be noted that these tasks were fruitful on December 18, when once located, agents of the Special Intervention Unit (UEI) and the Maritime Service of the Civil Guard, boarded the ship chartered by the Galician organization to the north of the Canary Islands .

In this approach, the three crew members of the investigated ship were arrested, as well as the aforementioned 3,300 kilograms of cocaine seized, which could be counted once unloaded in the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the place where the ship was taken after the collision.

After these events, the operation on the ground quickly precipitated, carrying out a total of 13 arrests yesterday in the provinces of Pontevedra, Ourense and A Coruña in the 14 searches carried out, which allowed the intervention of 1 kilograms of heroin. , 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, €20,000, high-end vehicles, encrypted electronic devices, sophisticated detection devices of technical means, as well as abundant documentation and effects of great interest to the operation.

The Sugar Brown operation has been directed by the Investigating Court No. 1 of Vigo and by the Anti-Drug Prosecutor of Pontevedra, and carried out by the Organized Crime Team based in Galicia (ECO Galicia) of UCO together with the Crime Team Organized and Anti-Drug (EDOA) of the UOPJ of Pontevedra, with the participation of different Units from the same Command, the Canary Islands Regional Coordination Center, the Maritime Surveillance Coordination Center and the Judicial Police Technical Unit.

In the success of this operation, the excellent collaboration with the Civil Guard of the American DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), British NCA (National Crime Agency), MAOC (Center for Maritime Analysis and Operations on Drug Trafficking) and Senegalese authorities must be highlighted. .