Spanish police have raided a house where suspected Chinese mafia members were growing around 9,000 cannabis plants spread out across four indoor plantations on the Costa del Sol.
The Spanish National Police in a joint operation with the Civil Guard carried out 10 raids in Malaga, Alhaurin de la Torre, Colmenar, Fuengirola and Manilva which are all located in the province of Malaga in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
A police report said: “Nineteen people were detained for belonging to a criminal group, drug trafficking, electricity fraud, falsifying documents, violent robbery and intimidation, forced robbery, and illegally staying in the country.”
The 19 detainees come from China and reportedly form part of the Chinese mafia operating in Spain.
Thirteen of them are already in prison after a hearing at the Malaga Trial Court number one. It is unclear what happened to the other six detainees.
The police said: “They used tunnels from inside the properties to access electrical cables between public lighting manholes to obtain the necessary electricity to cultivate cannabis.”
The report said the use “of sniffer dogs was essential” as the tunnels were buried under “dirt and mud 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) deep.”
Agents seized “9,000 marijuana plants” spread out across four indoor plantations along with “19,000 EUR (16,511 GBP) in cash” and “falsified passports from the People’s Republic of China.”
The raids were carried out after “several weeks of investigation” which started when the National Police intercepted “several postal packages” bound for Italy which “contained marijuana”.
Local media said the group used the same method to send cannabis to the United Kingdom and France, among other countries.
The local authorities said the group “used several homes” and had “industrial warehouses” which were used to set up their plantations with “24-hour surveillance and maintenance”.
The detainees were found living in “unhealthy living conditions” with many “sleeping on the floor” all under the “control of the head of the criminal group”.
The police said the tunnels helped “hide” their illegal activity from electrical companies which was considered “very novel” as it “makes their detection much more difficult.”