Customs and TradeNews

The Spanish Civil Guard recovers more than a thousand stolen mobile phones prepared to be sent to Morocco

The Civil Guard, within the framework of the SHIPPING operation, have managed to discover thousands of objects of illicit origin, prepared to be transported hidden between luggage and legal merchandise in vehicles to Morocco. The investigation began in June with the seizure of 20 smartphones and 40 smartwatches hidden in a vehicle in the port of Tarifa that was about to embark for Morocco. 

This apprehension was followed by two others in less than a week in the same port, all of them having characteristics in common.  The first suspicions of the investigators pointed to the fact that these telephone terminals could have been stolen in the recent fairs held in the Campo de Gibraltar region, given the social alarm that was being created among the population of the area, intensifying the efforts to confirm this first line of research.

The Civil Guard managed to locate a first warehouse located in the Palmones industrial estate (Los Barrios). In this warehouse, where its two “keepers” were detained, hundreds of packaged and palletized objects were found, coming from different Spanish and foreign locations, among which were 759 stolen smartphone mobile terminals. In addition, in this same place, 45 electric scooters, 180 laptops, different electronic, computer and photographic devices or boxes of clothing labeled from leading brands were found. Also pyrotechnic material with a net weight of explosive matter of 1007 kilograms, without the specifications or regulatory authorizations. This explosive posed a serious risk to the safety of the surrounding buildings and workers,

With the information obtained in this first intervention, the researchers managed to discover two other industrial buildings with similar characteristics in the same Palmones industrial estate, on which searches were carried out in which new stolen mobile terminals were located.

As a result of the actions carried out to date, the Civil Guard found out that part of the recovered smartphones had been stolen at the fairs in Los Barrios, Algeciras and La Línea, thus confirming their first suspicions. It was also found that many of the recovered mobiles had also been stolen at fairs in the towns of Vélez Málaga, Alhaurín de la Torre or Estepona, as well as other more distant places such as Gijón, Vitoria, Barcelona or Almería.

On the other hand, different international police cooperation mechanisms are being used, including Interpol, to find out the illicit origin of other recovered objects. This is the case of the photographic material found on one of the ships, which is suspected to come from the Netherlands or Belgium.