SOME 2,800 people were arrested in connection to drug trafficking in Andalucia last year, new figures have revealed.
According to the Guardia Civil, the armed police force had one of its most successful years in terms of arrests and seizures.
Some 227 tonnes of hashish were recovered, as well as ten tonnes of cocaine and almost 250,000 cannabis plants.
Meanwhile, a total of 2,796 suspects were detained for drug-related crimes, representing a 5% increase on 2017 and a 34% increase on 2016.
The results came in what was one of the bloodiest years on the Costa del Sol in terms of mafia activity.
Hotbeds for drug crime
The police force revealed that Granada saw the highest number of arrests in relation to drug trafficking in 2018 with a grand total of 650.
This was followed by Algeciras with 399, Cadiz (368) and Malaga (360).
Algeciras is known to be one of the main entry ports for drugs from South America, with one career drug trafficker recently revealing how a network of bribed police officers and port workers help get the drugs passed the authorities.
Cadiz has become a focal point for drug gangs in recent years with many smuggling gangs operating out of La Linea de la Concepcion, where around 3,000 citizens are believed to be working in the drug trafficking business.
In a statement, the Guardia Civil said they have disbanded several trafficking organisations ‘completely, from the leaders to the lower level workers’.
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Drug seizures soar
The 227 tonnes of hashish seized was a 34% increase on the year before.
Almost half (102 tonnes), were seized in Algeciras.
Some 44 tonnes were found in Malaga and another 37 in Cadiz.
Huelva saw a 600% increase in hashish seizures with 18 tonnes recovered by police.
Meanwhile a massive 19,000 kilograms of marijuana were seized across the region, ‘well above the 4,000 kilograms recovered in 2017 and the 2,700 in 2016’.
Malaga province saw the most seizures with 10,500 kilograms of the green drug intercepted, followed by Granada with 7,000 kilograms.
Granada continued to be the main grower of illegal cannabis plants, with 116,500 intercepted last year, followed by Almeria with 60,000.
Some 243,892 plants were recovered across Andalucia last year.
In terms of cocaine, around 9,732 kilograms were intercepted by police in 2018.
Most of that was seized during Operation Banana, which saw more than 6,000 kilograms recovered.
Another 3,000 were discovered in an operation in Algeciras port.