AROUND 2.8 tonnes of hashish with a value of £15 million has been seized in a joint operation between Gibraltar and Spanish police forces.
Mourad Boulaich Mehamdi, 31, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking offences after a drugs launch was found on Eastern Beach with 32 bales of hashish.
The Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) discovered the rigid hull inflatable boat at 7.45pm on January 8.
Along with the Gibraltar Defence Police they chased its crew members as they tried to flee to Spain.
Throughout the night the RGP exchanged information with the Policia Nacional and Guardia Civil.
The police cooperation led to Boulaich Mehamedi being arrested trying to enter Spain on foot via the land frontier.
RGP officers then arrested the suspect and levelled eight charges against him, including breaking the COVID-19 lockdown.
This flow of information led to the seizure of a second launch with 1,550kg on it in Algeciras.
Codenamed Operation Crispaito, it used the information provided by the RGP’s Operation Aquarian.
These operations were carried out amid the heavy rain and rough Levante waves that hit Gibraltar over these days.
“I am full of praise at the response by uniformed officers and the dedication of our detectives who worked tirelessly throughout the night into Saturday,” said RGP Commissioner Richard Ullger.
“I’m also grateful for the initial assistance afforded to my officers by colleagues from both HM Customs & Gibraltar Defence Police.
“This latest investigation provided the opportunity to activate and utilise the excellent cooperation and communications mechanisms in place between the RGP and both the Cuerpo Nacional de Policia and Guardia Civil.”
The recent talks on a post-Brexit relationship between Gibraltar and Spain agreed to this new relationship between police forces to fight crime like drug smuggling.
“Organised crime is inherently transnational, causes significant harm and affects the stability of communities.” said Ullger.
“The RGP will not allow Gibraltar to be used as a perceived safe haven for organised criminals.
“We will continue to challenge drugs trafficking activity and associated criminality, targeting logistical networks and proceeds of crime alongside our local, regional and international partners.”
The street value of the drugs seized under Operation Aquarian is about £6.5m, with the hash found by the Guardia Civil valued at about £7.5m.