THE Campo de Gibraltar has received a spate of new security measures in a bid to crackdown on a surge in drug crime.
La Linea de la Concepcion in particular has been described as being overrun by drug gangs, with locals and police in the area demanding robust action.
It is believed up to 3,000 people in the town work for crime bosses.
It comes after a gang of 20 masked thugs succesfully stormed a hospital to rescue their alleged trafficker boss who was being held under arrest.
Last year alone, there was a 300% increase in cocaine seizures and a 45% surge in hashish seizures.
The Spanish government has been forced to tackle the problem or run the risk of the area being ‘taken over’ by drug lords, with Spain’s police union recently comparing the area to Colombia under Pablo Escobar.
Under the new plan, the extra officers who were recently sent to back up the Guardia Civil’s Rapid Response Group will remain, while customs authorities will receive more officers to help ‘take apart the economic network’ of drug traffickers.
Meanwhile, Spain has said it will work with Morocco more closely to bring down the amount of hashish being smuggled into the Strait of Gibraltar.
A Royal Decree to ban narco boats favoured by traffickers will also be ready in the upcoming weeks, according to Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido.
“They will be confiscated wherever they are,” he insisted during a meeting with La Línea locals.
Policia Local, Guardia Civil and Customs Control will be granted ‘perminent reinforcements’ in the most dangerous areas like La Linea.
The exact number of new officers has not been revealed, with Zoido saying he did not want to ‘tip off’ the gangs.
Zoido added: “It is a complex situation. Security is vital and the message is very clear: the rule of law is in force in all of Andalucia to reinstate peaceful coexistence.”
The region will also receive €56 million to help fund social programs such as employment initiatives, school canteens, educational infrastructure and three health centers.
It is hoped this will help deter would-be gang recruits from a career in crime.
Junta boss Susana Díaz said she is confident the new plan will control the problem.
“When individuals take on the state, the state always wins,” she said. “And when all the administrations work as one, the people always win.”
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