The Spanish National Police have dismantled a huge cannabis operation that involved the “industrial scale” production of the drug for distribution in Europe.
The international police operation under the auspices of the European police agency Europol, involved law enforcement authorities in Spain, Germany and Albania
The criminal network composed mainly of Albanians is believed to have been managing cannabis plantations in Spain, where they cultivated and processed the marijuana, before it was transferred to other European countries for further distribution.
Some 400 police officers from the national police and regional Catalan Police (Mossos D’esquadra) carried out simultaneous raids in 42 different locations in north-eastern Spain (Tarragona, Barcelona, Girona and Castellón). An additional 9 searches were carried out a few days later.
As a result of the operation, 107 suspects were detained, including Albanian, Spanish, Slovak and Greek nationals.
In addition 51 cannabis farms were raided and 25 000 cannabis plants seized during the operation.
Police also seized 70,000 Euros in cash as well as two luxury vehicles.
This clan-based organised crime group was hierarchically structured, with branches operating internationally.
According to the police press statement, Some of the arrested gang members have a history of drug trafficking in different countries.
The criminals were diverting the electricity supply to illegally cultivate the plants indoors. It is estimated that the stolen electricity amounts to over €1.6 million in lost utility revenue.
Three Albanian investigators were also deployed to Spain to support the police.
The suspects are in police custody as the investigation continues.