THE NATIONAL Police have arrested 25 people and seized more than half a tonne of cocaine and €200,000 in cash as a two-year undercover investigation has consummated, exposing the gang behind the 62 kilos of cocaine that was found washed up on the beaches of Denia and Javea in January.
The investigation began in March 2015 when agents of group XV of the Provincial Brigade of the Judicial Police of Madrid first became aware of the existence of two Colombian men bringing cocaine into Spain. The men, alongside connections in Belgium and Holland, oversaw the storage and distribution of the drug as well as the recruitment of others into the organisation.
As the investigation progressed, it soon became apparent that the men were part of an extensive international criminal organisation, which had a structured and hierarchical framework.
Together with units in Valencia, Tarragona and Barcelona, researchers were able to determine that the head of the organisation resided between Mexico, Colombia and Spain and had many individuals under his power to control the smuggling of the drug into Spain before it was sold on the streets.
Different individuals controlled transportation, storage, sending money to Colombia, obtaining vehicles, recruiting ‘screen men’ to rent villas and one was even responsible for the collection of debts owed to the organisation.
The arrests closed the two-year investigation as agents became aware of new plans being formulated by the organisation in February this year, suspecting an imminent dispatch of cocaine.
At the end of March, agents detected a greater movement of the ‘strong men’ of the organisation in Spain and found that a new delivery had indeed arrived. With assistance from the GOIT (Operative Group of Technical Interventions), they stopped several vehicles, seizing varying amounts of cocaine.
Agents then went to a ship in the Madrid district of Villaverde where they found a suspicious amount of refractory bricks (used to build fireplaces and barbecues). As agents began to break the bricks, they found many to be hollow with cocaine hidden inside.
As a result of the investigation, agents searched 28 houses in various provinces in Spain (4 in Madrid, 18 in Valencia and one in Guadalajara, Toledo, Alicante, Albacete, Tarragona and Sabadell) an industrial warehouse in Madrid and seized 20 cars.
A total of 25 individuals have been arrested, 15 of whom have been imprisoned.
The trial has revealed that the same organisation was responsible for the 62 kilos of cocaine that was found washed up on the beaches of Denia and Javea in January – a failed operation which saw the drug attached to floating drums from a merchant ship.