THE GUARDIA CIVIL has busted a ‘taxi-boat’ gang that shipped over a total 68 kilos of drugs worth over €3 million to Algeria and returned to Spain with illegal migrants.

Six Algerians have been arrested in Alicante and a seventh in Roquetas de Mar(Almeria) when a boat carrying drugs to North Africa broke down in the middle of the sea with 48 kilos of methamphetamines seized.

Five raids were carried out in Alicante- four of them at homes and a fifth in an industrial warehouse.

The Guardia impounded 20 kilos of methamphetamine pills, two semi-rigid boats, two vehicles, €8,780 in cash, a detonator gun and several mobile phones.

Operation Emissary started in early 2023 as investigators probed an Algerian man suspected of leading a gang that organised regular trips bringing in Algerians that would land on the coasts of Alicante, Murcia and Almeria.

The organisation had a double source of income with drugs going one way and humans being trafficked on the Spanish return leg.

These trips were carried out by ‘taxi boats’- semi-rigid craft with high-powered engines.

The criminal network had people dedicated to specific tasks including the supply of fuel and cover to the skippers of the boats upon their arrival in Spain.

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In Algeria they had a network of recruiters that collected the cash from migrants before starting their journey via a currency exchange system known as ‘hawala’.

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