A violent gang that specialised in robbing drug traffickers used GPS trackers to follow shipments of hashish smuggled across the Straits of Gibraltar, according to reports by the Guardia Civil.
The gang used members in Morocco to hide the trackers inside the bales of drugs, allowing them to trace their whereabouts once these had been smuggled into Spain.
“They then dressed up as police officers to steal the drugs,” the Guardia Civil said in a statement.
“They did not hesitate to kidnap and torture their victims in order to gain information about other shipments.”
Details of their methods emerged after Guardia Civil officers arrested 30 of the gang’s members in Cádiz province, Málaga, Barcelona and Huelva.
Among those arrested were 29 Moroccans, eight Spaniards and a Senegalese national. Officers searched 29 premises and seized over two and a half tonnes of cannabis resin, 16 vehicles, over 60,000 euros in cash and six loaded handguns, along with satellite phones and documents.
According to the Guardia Civil, the gang’s members were highly trained and organised, dressing up as policemen and using “extreme violence” and guns to rob drug traffickers.
“This organisation had international connections with other groups in Morocco allowing them to hide satellite tracking devices in shipments of hashish and locate them once they were on the Spanish mainland,” the Guardia Civil said in a statement.
The gang also had contacts with criminal organisations in France and traded drugs for weapons which they used to rob other shipments.
Investigating officers were able to establish the group’s involvement in 25 violent assaults, according to the statement.
The operation, which involved Guardia Civil officers from Cadiz, Huelva and Barcelona, along with Catalonia’s Mosses d’Escuadra and Morocco’s Royal Gendarmerie, remains open and further arrests have not been ruled out.