The Guardia Civil and the Mossos d’Esquadra, within the framework of the CÓRSICA-XINO operation carried out in Barcelona, Seville, Tarragona and Huelva, have broken up a criminal organization dedicated to money laundering from illicit arms trafficking and drug trafficking that operated throughout the national territory.
9 people have been arrested and 4 others have been investigated for their alleged participation in the events and 9 searches have been carried out in professional homes and offices, in which 420,000 euros in cash have been intervened, of which 392,000 euros were hidden in a heater with an alarm system to prevent tampering, as well as watches and jewelry worth more than 111,000 euros, 1 blank firing pistol and vehicles. In addition, financial products amounting to more than 1 and a half million euros have been frozen.
Linked to this organization, a corporate framework has been identified that supported it, favoring the enjoyment of the benefits obtained and their integration into the financial system, assuming ownership of personal property, real estate or financial products and with the simulation of effective commercial activity.
The investigation began in 2019 when the Mossos d’Esquadra intervened in the town of Cambrils (Tarragona) four detonating pistols modified to carry out real fire, which had been equipped with a silencer and the ability to fire automatically, a circumstance that the classified as “weapons of war”. In addition to this, during the searches carried out, abundant ammunition and more than 370,000 euros in cash were found, resulting in the arrest of three people who were brought to justice.
In April 2019, through the coordination mechanisms dependent on the Secretary of State for Security, a coincidence was detected between this investigation and another that the Tarragona Guardia Civil was developing, in which a criminal organization was being investigated dedicated to arms trafficking that operated mainly in Catalonia. The main leader of this network, a well-known criminal from Barcelona, was in prison after being arrested in Granada in 2018, transporting 27 kilos of cocaine.
Taking into account the coincidence in the investigated network, it was agreed to continue with the investigations jointly, so a joint investigation team was set up between the two police forces. The first investigations carried out made it possible to relate the characteristics of the firearms intervened with those used in other criminal acts, for which reason the possibility that they had been provided by the investigated group was studied.
Similarly, supporting the organization investigated, a corporate network was detected through which, despite not appearing any type of commercial activity, numerous high-end vehicles were securitized with an approximate valuation of 300,000 euros, which is why which started another investigation in the economic-financial field due to the possible existence of an operation dedicated to money laundering.
Strict security measures
Members of the network took important security measures such as the use of encrypted military-type communication systems, the use of which is common by the main transnational criminal groups, and which is considered to be a reflection of the high degree of sophistication of the organization investigated.
In this way, and despite being in prison, the leader of the organization continued to direct its activity. Taking advantage of his prison situation, he had redesigned the corporate structure used so far in order to avoid possible investigations and adapt it so that when he was released he could continue with criminal activity from Andalusia, which was where he planned to settle. For this reason, at the beginning of the investigation, the expulsion of the previous economic manager was detected, entrusting the redesign and sophistication of this area to various legal professionals residing in the province of Seville.
After being expelled from the group and during the process of disengagement, the former economic manager took advantage of the corporate structure that was under his control to work with another organization of Dominican origin, which had to introduce cocaine from South America hidden in merchandise imported by sea. . For these events, a new investigation was initiated separately, which culminated in the month of December 2019, with the intervention of more than 30 kilos of cocaine and the disarticulation of the group linked to its introduction.
Result of the investigation
The agents have identified a good part of the members of this organization, they have also been able to prove their link with criminal activity, as well as a large part of the assets derived from it, partly consisting of large amounts of cash, high-end, real estate or high acquisition value effects, such as jewelry or watches.
Finally, on the morning of May 22, the investigation phase was carried out, in which 9 people were arrested and 4 others were investigated. Likewise, 9 searches were carried out in the towns of Hospitalet from Llobregat (Barcelona), Oliveres and Lebrija (Seville), Tarragona and Punta Humbria (Huelva).
The operation, led by the Reus Investigating Court No. 1, has been carried out jointly by agents of the Guardia Civil and the Mossos d’Esquadra, who have had the support of agents of the Tarragona Urban Guard.