ONE of Ceuta’s most notorious narco kings has been arrested in the sleepy Costa del Sol town of Manilva.

Piolin, the leader of one of two major drug gangs in the autonomous city, was tracked down to an aparthotel in the 17,157-person district near the border with Cadiz.

The arrest, by agents from Ceuta who had been assigned to the mainland to hunt him down, was the result of a ‘complex’ operation that involved a ‘very violent’ criminal who was armed at the time.

According to police, Piolin controls an organisation of 70 hardened criminals who traffic in weapons, human trafficking and extortion, as well as drugs.

Specialised agents from the National Police’s famed Drug and Organized Crime Unit (Udyco) in Ceuta had teamed up with the Special Response Group against Organized Crime (GRECO) on the Costa del Sol, which had been investigating the gang leader’s whereabouts in the area for a while.

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A police source told El Pais that the Costa del Sol is as much a favourite destination for criminals from Ceuta to hide out in as it is for foreign gangsters. 

In both cases, they seek anonymity among the hundreds of urbanisations scattered along the coastline to blend in as just another resident among the foreign population or tourists in the area.

Ceuta has long been riven by gang warfare between one group led by Piolin, who operated mainly in the troubled El Principe Alfonso neighbourhood, and the Tayenas, who were more focused on the neighbouring Los Rosales neighbourhood.

The Piolines and Tayenas gangs have been rivals for years and also operate in Morocco. 

They are made up of young people from Ceuta of Moroccan origin, many of whom are minors and recruited from depressed areas of the autonomous city.

But both gangs are now leaderless as Tayena, the leader of the Tayenas, was shot dead by a 19-year-old from Ceuta outside his home in Los Barrios two weeks ago.


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