The Spanish Civil Guard and Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria), have cought a drug gang red handed off the Andalucian coast as they tried to smuggle 15 tonnes of hashish into Spain.
A specialist Civil Guard assault unit stormed the vessel aound 100 nautical miles south of the Spanish coast.
During the assault, five individuals were arrested and 15 tonnes of hashish seized in the boat’s cargo.
The investigation, named Seafox, began at the end of last year after specialist units of the Spanish Civil Guard uncovered an organised crime group smuggling hashish from Morroco to Spain using different types of vessels.
Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC) assisted with the analysis of the criminals’ financial transactions, mapping out the full network spread out across Spain and Portugal.
The investigation quickly focused on one particular vessel – known as the Seefuchs which had been purchased by the gang in November 2020.
The gang moved the ship to the Portuguese port of Portimao in the Algarve, where it underwent modifications to increase its storage capacity.
In June of this year, the Seefuchs set sail to Morocco, under close surveillance of Portuguese and Spanish units.
Once the drugs were loaded onto the vessel, the criminals sailed back towards the Gibraltar Strait where it was stopped and seized.
Five house searches were carried out simultaneously across Spain, resulting in the arrest of three other members of this same gang, together with the seizure of €60 000 in cash.
A luxury yacht which was also used for drugs transportation was seized in Lanzarote.
The gang are now in police custody awaiting trial.