Six Hells Angels bikers have been arrested in a major drug bust on the popular Spanish holiday island of Tenerife, the Spanish Civil Guard has announced.
The coordinated, large-scale operation, which took place “just recently” saw six members of the notorious Hells Angels motorcycle club arrested on charges of production and distribution of cannabis, Inmaculada Gonzalez, spokeswoman of Guardia Civil in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, told Real Press in an interview.
Six houses and two crops of cannabis plants were raided simultaneously by officers of the Civil Guard and Agencia Tributaria, the Spanish tax agency, in the towns of Guargacho, Garachico and Adeje on the the island, which is located in the Spanish region of the Canary Islands.
Ms Gonzalez said the Civil Guard had relied on cooperation from authorities in other European countries, as international arrest warrants and extradition requests had already been issued for several of the arrested men.
The operation was the result of a comprehensive investigation that started back in September 2019 and included the cooperation of police and customs in Denmark, Norway and Germany, the Civil Guard said in a statement obtained by Real Press.
The six members of the alleged drug ring are two Germans, one Pole, one French citizen, a Serb and one Spanish national. All of them had criminal records, the Civil Guard said.
One of the suspects, who was in charge of overseeing production at one of the cannabis crops, had an extradition warrant from Serbian authorities. In Serbia, the man has been linked with the notorious international Pink Panther criminal gang, to which robberies and jewellery thefts that amount to a total value of more than 200 million USD (151.9 million GBP) have been ascribed.
Another suspect is wanted by French authorities for crimes linked with the procurement of drugs, the Guardia Civil said.
The farming, production and distribution of drugs is the most important means of financing the activities of Hells Angels in the Canary Islands, the Guardia Civil said. Other sources of income include the operation of tattoo shops and providing security services at brothels.
Ms Gonzalez said: “It is believed that the members of the gang extorted brothels to get the security service so that the gang could be financed”.
More than 1,000 cannabis plants were confiscated in the raid in addition to a larger amount of already processed cannabis that had been dried and was ready for distribution. Also seized were seven illegal weapons (two carbine pneumatic weapon, a taser gun, a truncheon, a machete and two knives), a GPS and 20 electrical devices, the content of which is still being examined.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was founded in California, in the Unites States, in 1948 and has since spread all over the world. The club’s members are mostly easily recognisable by their Harley Davidson motorcycles and leather vests adorned by the club emblem, a winged skull.
Today, the club, which has often been associated with organised crime such as drugs, prostitution and extortion, is active in 58 countries worldwide, 41 of them in Europe alone. According to the US Department of Justice, the club has an estimated 2,500 members worldwide and is a major source of drug-trafficking.