The Guardia Civil of the Region of Murcia has developed the operation ‘Harakami’, an investigation aimed at clarifying the theft of bluefin tuna from aquaculture farms in the Region, which has culminated in the arrest of three people and the investigation of three others as alleged perpetrators of the crimes of theft with force, against public health, against flora and fauna; and membership of a criminal organisation.
The Guardia Civil has seized in fraganti of a bluefin tuna of 120 kilos, already cut up, a boat, a trailer, a van, a professional knife and documentation linking the detainees with the alleged sale of tuna to a fishmonger in San Pedro del Pinatar, according to sources from the Benemérita in a statement.
The investigation began last July, after the owner of several aquaculture complexes dedicated to the breeding of bluefin tuna in the region, reported the theft of about 50 pieces of this species, valued at about 175,000 euros.
Civil guards from the ROCA teams (Against theft in the countryside) were on the trail of a group of residents of Portman, who were suspected of stealing tuna which, apparently, they were selling to the owner of a fishmonger’s in the region.
The numerous surveillance operations carried out on the suspects culminated when the civil guards located two of them as they arrived at the Portman-La Unión marina on board an inflatable boat in which they were transporting a tuna weighing 120 kilos, already cut up.
On the spot, the agents seized the specimen, as well as the boat, the fishing tackle and a professional knife, a van and a trailer; and also various documentation linking them to the alleged illegal sale of bluefin tuna to a fishmonger in San Pedro del Pinatar.
COLLABORATION WITH THE REGIONAL FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE SERVICE
The Guardia Civil, in collaboration with inspectors from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Service of the Region of Murcia, inspected the fish shop suspected of receiving the stolen fish and found three consignments of tuna of illegal origin, as well as documentation related to the irregular purchase of other previous consignments of tuna.
Other marine species, whose traceability could not be proven, were also found in the establishment, all of which was sealed and placed at the disposal of the Directorate General of Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Region of Murcia and the Court of Instruction of Cartagena.
Operation ‘Harakami’ has ended with the arrest of three people and the investigation of two others as alleged perpetrators of the crimes of robbery with force, against public health, against flora and fauna, and membership of a criminal organisation.
According to the investigation, this was a criminal group specialising in the theft of tuna from aquaculture farms in the Region, some of whose members had previous convictions for similar offences.
To do this, they had the necessary means to capture the tuna, cut them up and transport them to a shop in San Pedro del Pinatar, which they allegedly supplied on demand.
In this way, the goods, without any type of health control and in violation of the regulations required for the sale of food products to the public, were allegedly distributed from this fish shop for direct sale to consumers, as well as to clients in the catering sector.
The losses caused to the company that owns the fish farms are in the region of 175,000 euros.
The detainees – men, aged between 25 and 46, from Portman-La Unión and San Pedro del Pinatar -, the seized products, the seized documentation and the proceedings have been placed at the disposal of the Cartagena Magistrates’ Court.