16 Mar, 2021 @ 20:00
2 mins read

‘El Melillero’ acid attack criminal gang finally dismantled as all members arrested on Spain’s Costa del Sol

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THE criminal gang surrounding the horrendous Cartama acid attack finally falls as Guardia Civil dismantle several operations across Malaga.

Under the guise of Operation Dubrovnik and Operation Tindra, police have made dozens of arrests of members of the violent gang, of which ‘El Melillero’ was a member.

The first of the operations, Operation Dubrovnik, began in November 2020, two months before the acid attack, and focused on the true motives behind the gangs actions, drug trafficking, or more specifically ‘roll-overs’.

The gang, containing criminals from both Spain and Morocco and spread between Mijas and Fuengirola, specialised in the high jacking of other drug traffickers, using extreme violence to ‘steal’ other gangs drugs.

Police were alerted to these operations after a tanker circulating on the AP-7 near Marbella was noticed to be surrounded by several vehicles belonging to the El Melillero gang driving suspiciously.

Upon noticing the authorities, the vehicles disappeared at high speed, leaving the patrol vehicle to pull over the tanker.

It was found to contain 282.5 kg of hashish and 124 kg of marijuana, reportedly heading to the Croatian City of Dubrovnik.

This seizure led to the arrest of the driver and gave police leads to the vehicles that were trying to ‘over-turn’ the tanker.

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Helicopter image of the raid on the rural farmhouse during El Melillero’s arrest

Whilst this investigation was ongoing, on January 12 in Cartama, Jose Arcadio D N, known as ‘El Melillero’ attacked his former girlfriend and her friend by throwing sulphuric acid into the open window of their car in what appeared to be a crime of psychosis.

This led police to begin Operation Tindra to discover who was working as an accomplice to Arcadio as reports suggested there was a second man with him at the time of the attack.

The second man was found to be a fellow gang member named ‘Poti’. This ID led police to discover the roots of the gang that helped protect Arcadio during the tense week that he spent on the run.

Arcadio was found hiding out in a remote warehouse with other gang members, one of which his brother, by officers from multiple departments using trained sniffer dogs and helicopter support.

Despite the violent nature of the run-in’s with police stops during his time as a fugitive, Arcadio gave himself up without resistance, as did the fellow members present.

These second bout of arrests were discovered to link to the first detentions from Operation Dubrovnik, providing a connection between the drug running operations and the level of violence that the gang would go to.

Simultaneously operation Dubrovnik was coming to a close with a raid on four homes in the Mijas and Fuengirola area, leading to eight arrests for providing cover for Arcadio and for the ‘over-turning’ of the tanker back in November.

In total, 112,000 in cash was seized between the two operations as well as weapons of war and drug paraphernalia.

The only member of the gang not to be arrested was the man known as ‘Poti’ the accomplice during the acid attacks.

That was until March 10, when he was located in a residence in the Las Lagunas area of Mijas after several days of police monitoring the area.

‘Poti’ is also under investigation and had a previous arrest warrant out for him for cutting off the hand of another man in Fuengirola earlier last year in what is thought to be a drug retaliation attack.

In total, 11 arrests have been made, with eight currently facing jail time and the remaining three awaiting sentencing.

James Warren

"James spent three years spent working as a junior writer at various English language newspapers in Spain before finding a home at the Olive Press. He previously worked for many years as a bid writer for an international motorsports company. Based in Cordoba since 2014, James covers the southern Subbetica region, northern and inland Malaga and the Axarquia area. Get in touch at [email protected] with news or trustworthy tips that you would like him to cover in these areas"

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