Guardia Civil scores major international drugs bust in Tenerife

Guardia Civil scores major international drugs bust in Tenerife

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The Guardia Civil has broken up two networks of hash and cocaine trafficking in the Canaries with the arrest of 17 people and the seizure of 1,900 kilograms of hash and 4 of cocaine.

The operations, “Salto Sur” and “Posada”, were carried out in Tenerife and in Pontevedra and Huelva on the mainland, and began with the arrest of 9 individuals (7 Moroccans, a Spaniard and an Italian) in July.

It seems that the Moroccan group acquired a zodiac-type craft which a Tenerife resident then set to sea whenever the group needed it. The hash was brought in from Africa and the launch met the supply ship at sea, transferring the drugs to the Tenerife coast hidden under a false bottom in the boat. The usual mooring was busy leisure harbours where it might pass less noticed.

In mid-October, the traffickers told the Spaniard to prepare for a significant delivery, but because of confusion between the traffickers over the rendezvous point, the supply ship itself approached the south-west Tenerife coast. The police surprised them in the act as they were unloading, and although most of the traffickers managed to escape, police arrested two Moroccans and an Italian, and seized 17 bundles of hash weighing some 500 kilos.

Subsequent arrests saw another three Moroccans and a Spaniard taken into custody, and further searches of dwellings in south Tenerife have resulted in the seizure of a boat, mobile phones, and a various documents related to the investigations.

Previously, in December last year, a lorry was stopped in Playa de las Américas carrying 1,400 kilos of hash. The group responsible was headed by a La Palma resident, and it seems to have been run in parallel with two drug trafficking organizations supplying cocaine and hash to the Canaries by passengers on ferries carrying small quantities wrapped up as presents.

The Guardia Civil say that in addition, a fictitious company had been set up in order to import hash from Morocco: the company purported to organize musical events, and musical instruments and sound equipment was used to conceal drugs being brought into Tenerife.

In this other part of the operations police have made 8 arrests (7 Spaniards and a Venezuelan), and have carried out 6 searches in dwellings in Pontevedra, 2 in Gran Canaria, and 2 in La Palma. These have resulted in the seizure of 1,400 kilos of hash, 4 of cocaine, €5000, 7 vehicles, and various bank and property transactions have been blocked to the value of 1.5 million Euros.

The operations were carried out by the Tenerife based Equipo Contra el Crimen Organizado (ECO) de la Unidad Central Operativa de la Guardia Civil, supported by the Grupo de Reserva y Seguridad and other units. PV

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