The Spanish Civil Guard dismantles a network that distributed hashish through a fleet of aircraft

The Civil Guard, in the LIMONEROS operation, has dismantled a criminal organization that introduced large amounts of hashish into the peninsula, both by sea and by air. 41 people have been arrested for the alleged crimes of drug trafficking, illegal possession of weapons, smuggling, belonging to a criminal organization and falsification of public documents. 

The operation began in September 2019 when the Civil Guard learned of a helicopter plane crash in Morocco. The pilot of the wrecked plane had been staying in Seville, so an investigation was started to learn the facts. The agents verified that the members of the network took numerous security measures, such as renting vehicles under the names of third parties so that they could not implicate them. During the investigation, it emerged that the group was looking for second-hand aircraft and spare parts. 

For this he had a group of flight mechanics.  In November 2019, the civil guards in charge of the investigation thwarted a cache of 420 kilos of hashish on a plane from Morocco, and detained its two crew members. On the other hand, the network had pilots from Spain although they also brought from Latin America, especially from Mexico, novice pilots who were trained in Spain. 

For these teaching tasks the organization had a two-seater plane. During the two years that the investigation has lasted, it has been known that the members of the network have suffered at least two major plane accidents. The first of the accidents was that of the Mexican pilot for whom the investigation was initiated. The other accident occurred on September 9 of this year, when a pilot of Spanish nationality died on a night flight in Morocco. 

Counting the damaged aircraft, the organization has had 7 aircraft, two helicopters and 5 light aircraft. 

For this, in addition to the “pilot school” and the group of mechanics, they had places to hide the aircraft, as well as clandestine tracks, some of them camouflaged as tracks to train greyhounds. During the investigation, it became known that the organization had a branch that introduced hashish by sea. 

In fact, last June 4 people were arrested and 750 kilos of hashish were seized, as well as a vehicle used to load it into a cache on the coast of Huelva. The investigators, after the authorization of the Court of First Instance and Instruction number 4 of Sanlúcar la Mayor (Seville), carried out 24 searches in Murcia, Toledo, Cáceres, Huelva and Seville, where another 120 kilos of hashish were seized. In Cartaya (Huelva) the leader of the group was found in a luxury home, and in Seville the operative chief was located. 

In addition, of the four aircraft that have been seized, numerous effects related to aeronautics have been found, including flight manuals, as well as spare parts for the aircraft. Likewise, three firearms have been seized, a marijuana plantation in the Sevillian town of Los Palacios, 78,000 euros in cash and abundant documentation.  The operation has been developed by agents belonging to OCON-SUR.