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.
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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