SPAIN’S position as a narco gateway into Europe has come under the spotlight again with the latest release of staggering arrest and seizure figures.

Over the past six years, the country’s southern-most province has seen the capture of 1,452 tons of hash, 106.7 tons of cocaine, and 109.7 tons of marijuana among other drugs.

There have also been 19,907 individuals arrested or investigated in the Campo de Gibraltar as part of the ‘Special Security Plan’ launched in 2018.

Furthermore, the operation led to the confiscation of over 1 million marijuana plants, 9.58 million packets of contraband cigarettes, and more than €97 million in cash.

The plan, which has been extended three times  between 2020, and December 2023, now stretches to a broader territory including Cadiz, Huelva, Malaga, Almería, Granada, and Sevilla after a €79.35 million injection to bolster the operation. 

Seized Drugs And Money

Over six years, the state security forces have executed more than 22,000 operations, with 17,580 resulting in judicial proceedings. 

The haul includes 7,190 vehicles, nearly 2,000 firearms, over 6,500 electronic devices, and 820,000 litres of fuel.

Since the start of the plan, the number of police and Guardia Civil has jumped to 25,035, an 11.1% increase, with a budget of €17 million to boost recruitment even further in 2024.

The eyewatering figures were announced during an operational review meeting by Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, alongside Andalusia’s Government Delegate Pedro Fernández held on February 9.

“It’s a police success story,” Grande-Marlaska said.

However, it was not lost on observers that the ‘positive’ figures, in the words of the Interior Ministry, were announced on the same day that two Guardia Civil officers were killed by hash smugglers in Barbate, Cadiz.

Influential voices inside the Guardia Civil railed against the ‘lack of resources’ that saw their colleagues taking on the 15-metre ‘narco launchers’ in three-metre zodiac speed boats.

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