THE GUARDIA CIVIL has dismantled a criminal gang who imported large quantities of cocaine hidden in banana containers that docked in Algeciras.

13 people have been arrested and over 6.5 tons of cocaine have been seized after the search of several homes in Algeciras, Malaga and Castellar de la Frontera as well as two industrial warehouses in Algeciras and Antequera.

The total market value of the cocaine was said to be around €233 million.

Around €1.5 million in cash and various cars were taken away by the Guardia along with high-end watches and a large number of electronic devices used by the organization in order to hinder a possible police investigation.

The operation began last October 2022 when investigators detected a criminal organization, whose Malaga-based leader was regarded as one of Spain’s main cocaine traffickers.

One of his key associates was a member of a well-known family in Castellar de la Frontera who used a wholesale frozen fish company in Algeciras to launder the money obtained from the illicit activity.

The organization smuggled large quantities of cocaine through sea containers from South America and paid off public officials to ensure the supplies went through undisturbed.

The shipments were in banana containers from Colombia and Ecuador and once they landed in Algeciras, they were diverted to a warehouse-nursery where the pallets containing the cocaine were replaced by others containing bananas.

Shipments though started to be disrupted from December with Columbia authorities intercepting departures from the port of Cartagena, forcing the gang to use Guayaquil in Ecuador as a departure point for Algeciras.

In May, Guardia officers monitored the container’s arrival in Spain and followed a gang member driving a lorry with a 2,296 kilo consignment to an industrial estate warehouse in Antequera where seven people were arrested.


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