The Spanish Civil Guard dismantles three criminal groups dedicated to laundering money from drug trafficking

The Civil Guard, within the framework of the FRATER operation, has dismantled three criminal groups dedicated to money laundering, through the acquisition of high-power nautical engines, usually carried by high-speed boats used in the field of drug trafficking. 11 people have been arrested for the alleged crimes of money laundering and belonging to a criminal group; and a laundered heritage of 3,260,000 euros has been detected. The operation began after linking one of those investigated, who was arrested in 2013 for a crime against public health, with a company dedicated to acquiring engines for installation in fast boats commonly used to introduce hashish into the peninsula from the north of the African continent. Consequently, Court no. 2 of Barbate decreed his entry into provisional prison. In mid-2021, information was received of the existence of two companies that, with the same modus operandi as the previous one, would be buying nautical engines to, as this one already did, be used in the field of drug trafficking. Once the first investigations began, it was found that the administrator of one of them was a lawyer with a professional office in the town of Barbate (Cádiz). These companies are supposedly dedicated to the sale of nautical material, however, they do not have a business premises where they can exhibit or sell their products, nor do their administrators have experience in said sector. Intensifying the efforts regarding this lawyer, it is observed that he maintains a close personal relationship with the former administrator of the former.  From the analysis of the financial activity of both investigated, clear links were obtained and the more than probable use of the owners as figureheads, for money laundering through the company in their name. In fact, the three companies have received a total of almost one million euros each in cash. 

Raising capital

 The agents, after analyzing the activity of the companies, detected that different people made significant cash deposits in a bank account owned by said company, however, they lacked legal sources of income that would allow them to make such payments. In addition, they also received income from the other companies investigated. Once the money had been introduced into the financial system, and transferred from one company to another, in an attempt to distance it from the moment it was deposited in cash, it was used to pay for motors that were purchased from companies located in Dubai. The engines purchased through one of the companies were made available to the others, whose administrator was in charge of making them reach the real buyer, who was not one of the people who deposited the money to buy it, hiding both their identity and the true source of the money. The administrators of these companies have seen their assets increase exponentially, however, they do not have sources of income that justify this circumstance. The investigation has been directed by the Cadiz Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office.