The Civil Guard, in the so-called Operation GAONA, has arrested a total of 21 people belonging to a criminal organization specialized in money laundering that in turn provided services to other criminal groups that obtained large economic benefits through various illegal activities, mainly drug dealing.
With this operation, the Money Laundering Group of the Central Operative Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard has completely dismantled a corporate network made up of more than 50 companies, leaving its commercial logistics blocked and beginning the recovery of the largest possible number of illegally obtained assets and securities.A total of 24 registries have been carried out in the provinces of Madrid, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Badajoz and Alicante, in which a total of 219,790 in cash have been intervened, an indoor marijuana plantation, more than 650 kg of that same drug already processed and packaged for distribution, 14 weapons of different characteristics, several high-end cars, as well as abundant documentation and computer material pending analysis. The execution phase of this police operation has had its epicenter in the La Sagra de Toledo region, with actions in the municipalities of Ugena and Numancia de la Sagra, where 8 people have been detained in 6 searches carried out, appearing in one of them a sophisticated indoor marijuana plantation with more than three hundred plants, as well as more than 500 kg. already packed and processed of the same substance.
Start with Operation Torre Blanca
The investigation began three years ago as a result of the TORRE BLANCA operation, also carried out by the UCO Money Laundering Group in June 2018, in which another important criminal organization dedicated to laundering money from drug trafficking was dismantled. , with strong links between Spain and Colombia and in which the laundering of more than 8 million euros was detected. Now with the GAONA operation and continuing with the previous investigation, the agents have been able to corroborate how some people linked to that organization have continued to offer their services to different criminal groups to bank and introduce large amounts of money of illicit origin into the legal banking system. .
Laundering routes: cryptocurrency, real estate investment and simulation of commercial activities with China
The agents have detected different methods of laundering, highlighting the simulations of commercial operations with the Republic of China, the investment in a multitude of real estate projects in our country and the acquisition of cryptocurrency and precious metals. With regard to real estate operations, those investigated facilitated the payment of various properties through money deliveries “in B” and also through bank transfers from companies that had been endowed with funds in the same way. Also noteworthy is the making of transfers to the People’s Republic of China from Spanish companies, always simulating the payment of actually non-existent commercial operations, carried out by citizens of that country living in Spain in exchange for previously agreed commissions. Regarding the acquisition of cryptocurrency, this was carried out using funds from companies related to the hydrocarbon sector in a clear example of fraud to the Public Treasury, delivering the cash value to people of Colombian origin.
Diversion of marijuana from licensed cannabis plantations
In the same way, it has been possible to determine that several of those investigated were distributing notorious amounts of marijuana already processed into buds to people of Chinese origin, which was cultivated in illegal plantations, but also in legal plantations, of which it can only be traded. legally fiber and hemp, never buds, as has happened in the municipalities of Azuaga and Granja de Torrehermosa in the province of Badajoz.