The Guardia Civil, in the course of the Operation YGARA, has arrested 19 people belonging to an international organization dedicated to the transport of large amounts of hashish through the Mediterranean Sea. The organised gang operated a sailboat that sailed through international waters near Senegal with 5.1 tons of hashish .
The detainees took refuge in navigation in international waters in order to hinder the intervention of the State Security Forces and Corps.
A total of 20 searches have been carried out in homes and buildings in different locations in the provinces of Barcelona (Barberá del Vallés, Barcelona, Sabadell, Ripollet, Sant Andreu de Llavaneras, Sant Quirze del Vallés and Vic), Girona (Blanes and Lloret de Mar), Pontevedra (Cambados).
The records carried out have allowed the seizure and recovery of a vehicle that had been stolen in Marseille in the month of November 2019 and that carried false registration plates. This vehicle was in the possession of one of the leaders of the organization, who had set up a marijuana plantation “in door” at his own home. At the same time, different tools that can be used for drug distribution have been intervened, as well as terminals for encrypted communication.
The operation began last year, when agents detected in Palma de Mallorca, a sailboat that could be being used to transport drugs.
Continuing with the investigations, the agents were able to verify the existence of a criminal structure whose scope of action covered the provinces of Albacete, Almería, Barcelona, Ceuta, Malaga, Las Palmas and Pontevedra, as well as countries such as Italy, Libya, Morocco, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Tunisia.
Given the transnational nature of the illicit activities carried out by the organization, the Guardia Civil carried out joint actions with the Italian Guarda di Finanza, the Italian DCSA, as well as the Senegalese Navy and the Central Office for the Suppression of Illicit Drug Trafficking, agency dependent on the Senegalese police authorities.
As a result of the international police cooperation developed with the Senegalese police authorities, an intervention and boarding took place in international waters close to that country, of a sailboat owned by the organization in which 5,140 kgs of hashish were found, so The three sailboat crew members, two from Colombia and one Spanish citizen, skipper of the boat, were detained and transferred to Dakar.
This intervention was carried out by the Senegalese Navy Force and the Civil Guard Maritime Service stationed in Senegal. It should be noted that the crew of the sailboat, noticing the police presence, tried to get rid of the merchandise.
Surveillance devices and means
During the development of the operation, the Civil Guard has constantly monitored the activity of said sailboat, maintaining a monitoring and surveillance device with the participation of air and maritime means coordinated by the CECORVIGMAR of the Civil Guard, with the support of FRONTEX, as well as activated Units for intervention and boarding at sea.
The international deployment of the Civil Guard in the different embassies of the countries affected by the activity of the investigated criminal organization has contributed to consolidating the capacities of international police cooperation in a case such as that investigated in the framework of Operation “Ygara” with a marked transnational component.