The Spanish and French authorities have smashed a criminal gang that flew narcotics into Europe in helicopters and seized over 2.5 tonnes of drugs in the process.
The Civil Guard, accompanied by OFAST (French Anti-Narcotics Office) and Europol, dismantled a gang for trafficking hashish and marijuana and money laundering in an operation that started in 2020, according to a press release by the Civil Guard on 9th January.
In the operation named ‘Copa Sucre’, the police seized over 2.4 tonnes of hashish and 112 kilogrammes of marijuana and 11 French suspects were arrested. Nine other people are pending arrest in France on European arrest warrants.
The police launched the operation when they discovered that different vehicles were being used by suspected gang members, including the illegal entry of a helicopter without a flight plan from Morocco to Andalusia in southern Spain where the drugs were allegedly received before being transported to France.
While carrying out investigations in the Spanish province of Malaga, the Civil Guard discovered that one suspect was using five fake identities.
After monitoring the group, the police intercepted a lorry with French registration in the southern French town of Narbonne that was found to be transporting 419 kilogrammes of hashish, and arrested the driver.
Continuing with the investigation, the police found 327 kilogrammes of hashish in the Spanish town of Baza in the province of Granada.
In another raid, the police seized 860 kilogrammes of hashish from a lorry in the Spanish municipality of Chauchina. Officers also seized 112 kilogrammes of marijuana in a vehicle used by the gang in the Spanish city of Portbou in the province of Girona.
A few days later, the police seized 211 kilogrammes of hashish from a helicopter in the Spanish city of Torremolinos in the province of Malaga.
The police were involved in a dramatic car chase with one suspect in the Costa del Sol region. The chase, which involved speeds of up to 180kph, ended when the suspect’s car was rammed and brought to a stop.
Officers seized 329 kilogrammes of hashish in the vehicle and another 226 kilogrammes of hashish in the house where the driver left from. The suspect was subsequently placed under arrest.
The gang is also accused of money laundering the illicitly obtained capital.
The authorities have so far seized three helicopters, four firearms, large quantities of ammunition, bulletproof vests, and numerous electronic devices as the investigation continues.