Spanish Civil Guard and the Spanish Tax Agency, with the collaboration of the Portuguese Judicial Police and Europol, have dismantled a criminal organization that intended to introduce 15 tons of hashish into Spain, arresting 8 of its members.
The investigation began at the end of last year when Civil Guard agents and Customs Surveillance officials learned that people from several countries could be planning to introduce large quantities of hashish into Europe and, for this, they would be preparing a large vessel.
In November 2020, a Dutch flag vessel was located. The ship in question was a large fishing vessel in La Línea de la Concepción. The fishing boat, manufactured in Germany and with the name ‘Seefuchs’, had been converted years ago into a rescue and salvage vessel by an NGO that operated in the Mediterranean, and which at the time had owned the boat.
The researchers detected in December of last year that the organization moved the ship to the Portuguese town of Portimao, where they changed its color and increased its autonomy and stowage. When the vessel arrived in Portugal, contacts were initiated through the established international cooperation channels with the Portuguese Judicial Police, which allowed progress in the investigation.
Taking longer than expected to prepare the boat, the organization acquired a 20-meter long luxury yacht in La Manga (Murcia). This boat suffered different breakdowns in the process of loading the hashish, so it was transferred to Lanzarote for repair, where it was finally intervened during the exploitation of the operation. It is already in June of this year when the SEEFUCHS was ready to sail and left for the coasts of Morocco in order to carry out the loading of a large quantity of drugs.
The organization took advantage of the development of a military exercise off the Moroccan coast of Agadir to try to go more unnoticed. Once the drugs were loaded into the old fishing boat, the criminal group left for the Strait of Gibraltar where it was decided to intervene the boat 100 nautical miles south of Huelva.
The boarding operation was coordinated by the Center for Coordination of Maritime Surveillance of Coasts and Borders (CECORVIGMAR) and carried out by the Special Intervention Unit aboard vessels of the Maritime Service, detaining 5 people of different nationalities, when they were in the ship hundreds of bales of hashish.
Once the boat arrived at the Port of Huelva, the judicial search of the boat was carried out and the bales were unloaded, which yielded an approximate weight of 15,000 kilograms. The researchers made 5 entries and records in the towns of Ribeira (La Coruña), Viladencans (Barcelona), Torrejón de Ardoz and San Fernando de Henares (Madrid) and in Almensilla (Seville), which were authorized by the Central Court of Instruction number 2 of the National Court.
In these registries, 3 more people are detained and 4 vehicles, numerous documentation and 60,000 euros in cash are intervened. Customs Surveillance officials from the Tax Agency and the Civil Guard Command of Barcelona, Madrid, La Coruña and Huelva pa