Story By: Juan Fenandez Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Cops in Spain have smashed a drug trafficking gang that broke into luxury villas when they knew the owners were away and used the properties to grow drugs.
The strategy was so successful that the gang apparently financed a life of luxury and when they were arrested cops seized designer clothing and jewellery, and also recovered luxury cars, boats, guns and hundreds of bottles of top brand champagne.
They also found that the gang members had shared pictures of themselves staying at top hotels and visiting the best restaurants on the Spanish Costa Blanca.
The criminal group was found to be operating out of the Vega Baja county located in the Alicante province in the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia.
Alicante is home of the 120-mile coastline of the Costa Blanca (White Coast) on the Mediterranean which is a popular spot among British and German holidaymakers.
Authorities first became aware of the possible existence of the organization when a local from the town of San Miguel de Salinas in Valencia reported seeing people squatting in a home in the area in late January of this year.
According to a police report by the Spanish Civil Guard, authorities started to suspect the house “had been destined to grow cannabis” during their investigation of the initial complaint.
They found the group had not just settled on that property but had also “located residences in different locations of Vega Baja and made sure the owners would take a long time to realise that they had been occupied.”
The group chose “large homes with several floors and plenty of outdoor space with a pool” and carried out works to adapt the property to grow hundreds of indoor plants while being “advised by a member of the group who had an agricultural degree.”
The video shows the moment agents approach and enter the house and discover an underground area which is completely filled with large cannabis plants that reach an agent’s face.
Another room which is apparently very well-built and organized is also seen filled with the illegal plants. The video then cuts to show several suspects being escorted out of the homes and into patrol cars as it comes to an end.
A total of eight raids were carried out in different locations of San Miguel de Salinas, Rojales and Orihuela Costa where five cannabis plantations were found.
Each one had “around 600 mature plants”. Also found were babies aged between two and 22 months in three of the homes that were raided.
The Spanish Civil Guard arrested 12 people of ‘Spanish, Cuban and Colombian origin” between the ages of 21 and 51 during the operation. Eight are men and four are women.
In total, “2,953 mature marijuana plants, 1,628 grams of bud packaged and ready for delivery” as well as several doses of other drugs for “the gang’s own consumption” such as cocaine, MDMA and hash oils.
Police seized a further “EUR 45,000, GBP 4000, five luxury vehicles, two vans used to transport the material to set up the plantations and the collected cannabis, two water jets, a boat, several mobile phones, a micro telephone, a gun, two electric guns of the taser type, one Katana, a machete and numerous luxury watches of well-known brands.”
The report adds the “gang enjoyed a high standard of living” and had “refined taste” in for example selecting hundreds of bottles of a “prestigious champagne brand” that we found in their homes.
They also found the gang members “had their closets full of brand-name clothes and jewellery” and were seen posing in pictures “in luxury hotels and restaurants”.
The suspects have been charged with drug trafficking, possession of illegal weapons, falsifying documents, electric supply fraud, damaging property and belonging to a criminal organisation.
Seven of the detained suspects have been placed in jail without bail while the remaining five have been freed under preventative measures.
It is unclear if they have been given a trial date.
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