The Spanish Civil Guard has dismantled a massive drug smuggling operation in cooperation with the Royal Gibraltar Police that reportedly brought drugs into Spain from North Africa on small vessels.
According to the Spanish Civil Guard, 78 people were arrested and officers seized over six tons of hashish, five boats, 17 vehicles, 480,000 EUR (425,450 GBP) in cash, six weapons and they also dismantled a shipyard that built semi-rigid vessels.
Video credit: CEN/Guardia Civil
Local media said that the suspects were based in the provinces of Seville and Cadiz in the southern Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia, and were led by the on-the-run Moroccan drug dealer Abdellah el Haj Sadek aka ‘El Messi del Hachis’ (the ‘Messi of Hashish’, in reference to the footballer).
With the support of the Royal Gibraltar Police, the Civil Guard has reportedly dismantled one of the most important organisations operating in the provinces of Cadiz and Seville, which also coordinated with Los Lamas, another gang based in Campo de Gibraltar, also in the province of Cadiz.
The investigation started Last February after three people were rescued by the Gibraltar authorities when the vessel they were in was about to sink.
Reports said that 2,500 kilogrammes of hashish (5,512 pounds) in bundles were thrown into the sea to avoid arrest. Later, the Royal Gibraltar Police confirmed that one of the rescued people was a trusted confident of ‘El Messi’.
Nine months later ‘El Messi’ turned himself in after he agreed a deal with Spanish prosecutors that kept him free in exchange for the payment of an 80,000-EUR (70,880-GBP) bond, and the obligation to appear before the court daily.
But last March he fled Spain after announcing in a letter released by his lawyers that he had decided to disappear “for a while” due to “enormous police pressure”.
Reports said that as well as the latest arrests, warrants have also been issued for 16 members of the organisation, including ‘El Messi’ himself and another 24 people in La Linea and Algeciras who are being investigated on suspicion of money laundering.
The investigation continues.
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.