POLICIA Nacional have dismantled a criminal gang which exclusively targeted wealthy tourists in Marbella.
Six Algerian men, between the ages of 26 and 33, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in robbery, belonging to a criminal organisation and an assault of a police officer.
Four of them were arrested in Marbella on Saturday after they successfully stole a watch worth €24,000.
A further two were detained when they arrived at the apartment of those arrested in Fuengirola with the stolen watch some days later.
Subsequently, investigators found a hotel room in Fuengirola where part of the network was staying with false identity documents.
The haul included 10 watches, six latest generation mobile phones, cameras, computer equipment, 650 British pound sterling, a vehicle and jewelry.
According to police, the main targets of the network were foreign tourists with a certain buying power who were holidaying around ??Puerto Banus.
Once the gang had chosen its victim – usually older or intoxicated tourists – two members would tackle them from behind before putting them in a chokehold until they became unconscious.
The group would not hesitate to use violence if they had to.
The technique is known as ‘mataleon’ in Spanish.
After taking their cash and jewelry, the gang would move their victim from view of other tourists and the scene of the crime.
The haul saw a dozen watches worth €400,000 recovered, along with five mobile phones and cash.
It also immediately solved fifteen robberies committed in the Marbella area.
Those arrested have been placed in prison awaiting trial.