The Spanish National police have arrested ten people and seized 1,600 kilos of hachis in several raids to dismantle a drug-running operation allegedly headed by a 64 year old Royal Navy veteran.
The authorities also seized five luxury vehicles, 3 yachts, 6,000 Euros in cash, a taser gun, an assortment of knives, a drone and a fake pistol.
Spain’s National Police, National Crime Agency and Tax Agency began Operación Sueños-Candado to investigate the gang in Febraury 2020.
The former Royal Navy sailor is believed to have resided in a luxury development in Sotogrande – and used his extensive military and seafaring knowledge to conduct highly sophisticated and disciplined smuggling operations.
He has been under surveillance for some years in other drug related operations due to his alleged ties to known drug trafficking figures in the Campo de Gibraltar as well as extensive crime links in the UK and Ukraine.
The Spanish authorities have not disclosed his identity or former rank however some Spanish media outlets have described him as Mark.B, a former submariner.
The gang operated several front companies that seemingly were for the sale and rental of pleasure boats and yachts but were in fact used for clandestine smuggling operations between the North African coast and Spain.
The investigation uncovered additional front companies that were set up to launder the profits.
In a statement released by the police, the gangs activities were characterized by a “high degree of professionalism” and strict operational security.
Its members adhered to rigorous security protocols in their communciations and movements, particularly before and during meetings, which were held in remote sites and would often be relocated while in progress.
In 2020, police intercepted two of the group’s hashish shipments, a 600-kilo haul in Ceuta in August, followed by the seizure three months later, of a tonne of hachis in San Roque.
Last week, officials followed the arrests with raids in the North African enclave of Ceuta as well as the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga.
The ten suspects are being held in police custody awaiting trial.