22 Jan, 2023 @ 14:15
1 min read

Spain’s Civil Guard busts gang that was extorting prostitution clients with threatening messages

Civil Guard operation
An image from one of the threatening videos allegedly used by the gang. Credit: Civil Guard

THE SPANISH Civil Guard has busted a criminal gang that was extorting and threatening men who had used the internet to secure the services of sex workers. A total of 22 arrests were made, while another 18 suspects are being investigated. 

The so-called Operation Calaveda uncovered at least 65 alleged offences by the gang, which was operating between Madrid, Santander and Barcelona 

The probe began after a police report was filed in Castilla y Leon region in 2021 by a man who, shortly after using the internet to find sexual services, began to receive threats via his phone and text messages demanding money. 

The messages included promises that a hitman would be sent to the victim if they didn’t pay up. 

The gang is alleged to have closely investigated the private lives of its victims, as well as sending images of mutilated bodies, decapitations and amputation in a bid to intimidate them.

According to the Civil Guard, the calls were coming from phone numbers from Spain as well as Dominican Republic, while the calls were made by people with Latin American accents. 

The gang would receive the extorted funds via the bank accounts of numerous ‘mules’ that it had at its disposal. 

The Civil Guard stated that the gang had tried to obtain as much as €110,000 from its practices, but had only got its hands on roughly €30,000.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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