The Guardia Civil has arrested in Murcia and Alicante seven members of a criminal network dedicated to theft in homes and shops, who are charged with 35 alleged crimes committed in the provinces of Albacete, Alicante, Almeria, Jaen and Murcia, sources from the Benemérita reported in a statement.
The judicial authority has ordered the imprisonment of four of them, including the leader of the group.
The operation, known as ‘Mactol’, began in October 2021, following a report of a burglary in a house in a district of Orihuela (Alicante). The Territorial Judicial Police Team of Almoradí found that this was not an isolated incident, but the actions of an itinerant criminal group that had increased the number of burglaries in homes and businesses in this town and its surroundings.
As the investigation progressed, by means of a more exhaustive analysis of the modus operandi, and after the study of various indications and evidence, the agents appreciated the high level of activity of the criminal group and their level of specialisation.
Thus, the Armed Forces determined that the gang was organised and defined, distributing tasks in a specific and disciplined manner.
The leader of the group was allegedly a 47-year-old man of Algerian nationality, who was in charge of organising the rest of the members and planning the logistics of the crimes. He also sold the loot obtained on the black market.
A 48-year-old Spanish man selected the means of transport and moved the gang members from one place to another. The rest of the members, aged between 23 and 43, all of Moroccan nationality, carried out the robberies in a coordinated manner.
After a complex investigation, the agents found out that the main base where they hid the stolen objects was in Murcia.
Once the gang’s participation in the robberies committed in various locations in the provinces of Albacete, Alicante, Almería, Jaén and Murcia was identified and accredited, on 9 March an operation was carried out, with seven simultaneous searches in the towns of Bigastro, Jacarilla, Orihuela and Redován, in the province of Alicante, and in San Javier and Murcia, in the Region of Murcia.
Given the magnitude of the operation and the need to carry out the searches simultaneously, the investigators were joined by the Citizen Security Units of the Alicante and Murcia Civil Guard Headquarters (USECICs), the teams of the Investigation Areas of the Main Posts of Callosa and Almoradí, the Roca Team of the Torrevieja Company and the Citizen Security units of the posts of the affected towns.
CHANGES OF RESIDENCE
In order not to arouse suspicion and hinder the investigations, the thieves took security measures, such as dividing into sub-groups to commit the robberies, constantly changing the location of the residence and alternately using vehicles with which they travelled, which were previously stolen for this purpose.
One of the searches took place in an accommodation establishment in Redován, Alicante, in two single rooms where two of the members were staying. In this search one of the detainees actively resisted arrest, while the other one jumped through a backyard trying to escape. However, the officers managed to apprehend both of them.
The detainees, all with previous police records for similar acts, have been placed at the disposal of the Orihuela Magistrate’s Court, which has ordered the imprisonment of four of them, including the leader. The rest have been released with charges.
A WEAPON, EIGHT VEHICLES AND JEWELLERY
Among the items seized were a revolver-type handgun; eight motor vehicles that were recorded as stolen; computer equipment; jewellery, watches and fashion accessories; specific DIY and mechanical equipment; tools; small electrical appliances; sports and leisure equipment, such as bicycles and electric scooters; clothing; and personal utensils. Many of the objects have already been handed over to their legitimate owners.
The Guardia Civil is continuing its investigations, as it is not ruled out that the number of people arrested may increase. To date, 35 crimes of robbery with force have been attributed to them, as well as the crime of belonging to a criminal group.