The Civil Guard, within the framework of the PALIKA operation, has dismantled a criminal organization based in Catalonia, mainly in the province of Barcelona, dedicated to hashish trafficking between North Africa and the Catalan coast. 9 people have been arrested and more than 5 tons of hashish and various vehicles have been seized.
The economic value of the seized drug could have reached a price on the illicit market of more than 18 million euros in Belgium or 14 million euros in Italy, all of this taking into account the average value in these countries, in which they would be found. the final buyers of the drug.
The investigation began at the beginning of 2021 when members of the Civil Guard Reserve and Security Group and fiscal patrols of the Tarragona Command carried out a police control on the AP-7 motorway, in the municipality of Vilaseca (Tarragona).
During the same, the agents observed the excess load of a van, whose driver, noticing the presence of the police control, showed signs of nervousness. After telling him to park the vehicle, he accelerated the vehicle abruptly, fleeing at high speed. Shortly after, he abandoned the vehicle and continued his escape on foot.
Once the van was inspected, the agents located 27 bundles of hashish inside, which yielded a total weight of 985.44 kilos, valued at nearly two million euros.
Hashish trafficking between Morocco and the Catalan coast
After analyzing the seized documentation, it was found that the seized substance was part of a recent cache on the Mediterranean coast, through the use of semi-rigid boats, the perpetrators being members of a criminal organization based in the province of Barcelona and dedicated to hashish trafficking. between the north of Morocco and the Catalan coast.
As a result of the investigations, at the beginning of August a cache was detected on the Tarragona coast, specifically on the “Wai kiki” beach. 68 bales of hashish with a total weight of 2,471 kilos and a value of more than 4.8 million euros and a cargo van were seized.
Due to surveillance throughout the Tarragona coastline, the organization under investigation decided to change its strategy. On the one hand, trying to clear the Barcelona coast, an attempt that was frustrated by the theft of the merchandise in the country of origin and, on the other hand, trying to acquire their own boat to carry out the transfers by sea themselves. To finance themselves, they planned to acquire a large load of hashish introduced by another organization along the coast of Cadiz, to later transport it by road from the south to nurseries located in the province of Barcelona where it was sold.
The investigators, aware of this change in strategy, established a police operation on the main land communication routes, intercepting a vehicle belonging to the organization loaded with 9 bales of hashish weighing 315 kilos in the province of Malaga. Subsequently, a search was made in a garage in Algeciras where the drug had been purchased, discovering 47 bales weighing 1,400 kilos.
After this last intervention, on December 29, 2021, another 10 searches were carried out in the provinces of Barcelona and Algeciras, in which 6 members of the network were arrested.
Hash cutting “laboratory”
During the operation it was found that those under investigation had a laboratory in which they mixed the best quality hashish acquired with other variants that had a low level of THC or were in poor condition, in order to be able to release a larger amount of hashish, which they distributed at retail to finance their activities.
The operation, directed by the Investigating Court No. 3 of Reus, has been carried out by units of the Civil Guard Command of Tarragona, Barcelona and Algeciras, in addition to the OCON-SUR, CRAIN, GAR, GRS and UHEL.