The Spanish National Police have dismantled a criminal gang who targeted men responding to ads from sex workers and who were then blackmailed.
According to the statement seen by the Metropolitan, the authorities have arrested 11 gang members – 3 in Jaen and 8 in Valencia in an operation named Girasol.
The gang which ran under its social media name and tag of “Messi del Work”, is reported to have made over 50,000 Euros a month by placing “sting” ads on sex dating websites.
Potential clients would call the contact number on the sites, after which, they were in turn called by the gang to the registered phone numbers threatening the clients with exposure on social media if they did not make a payment.
The gang used a network of “mules” who provided their bank accounts and into which the scammed clients paid their ” release fee”, and for which they received a small commission for handling the transaction.
The gang would then collect the balance in cash from the mules.
Even if the client did not in fact visit the sex worker the gang demanded “compensation for wasting the girls time.”
According to the police statement, the ruse had brought payments of between 100 to 80,000 Euros.
The operation developed over a period of 2 years from a previous operation named “Mijail” which had led to the arrest of 57 people using a similar method.
In March 2019 the coach of Spanish liga side, Alaves, revealed that he had been a victim of the gang.
The suspects are in police custody awaiting trial.