The Guardia Civil has dismantled an organisation dedicated to the purchase of industrial hemp plantations with the aim of extracting CBD from the flowers for illegal sale. Operation Indalo 85 Mazorca has concluded with the arrest of three people and the investigation of a fourth in Almería and Cáceres for crimes against public health.
This anti-drug operation began in the middle of last year, following the inspection of a plantation of alleged industrial hemp on a farm located in the municipality of Tíjola. The investigators found a crop of 622 cannabis plants, in an advanced state of flowering, under surveillance with hunting cameras and hidden among a corn plantation.
The agents in charge of the investigation locate the drying area of the crop in an abandoned and almost completely walled up building, where they find the flowering parts of the plants hung up to dry and the rest (the stalk) discarded outside.
Continuing with the investigation, the agents interviewed the person responsible for the crop, where he informed them that he was engaged in the production of industrial hemp for a company based in Cáceres. After finding the drying place for the buds, the discarding of the stalks and the absence of seeds, the Guardia Civil proceeded to arrest him.
The company under investigation intended to buy the crop and for this purpose reached agreements with Spanish producers of industrial hemp, consisting of the purchase of complete harvests in order to transfer the whole plants to third countries. Once abroad, they extracted the buds and CBD derivatives for subsequent sale. Those investigated also offered consultancy services, supply of seeds and germination.
The cultivation of hemp is permitted if it is intended exclusively for industrial purposes, i.e. for the production of fibre or seeds, and it is illegal to “dry, package, sell, etc.” the flowering tops. It is also permitted with the express authorisation of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) for scientific, medical or research purposes.
During the course of the operation, the Guardia Civil inspected and searched three properties in the province of Cáceres, where they seized samples of cannabis and hashish, 2,200 grams of buds and numerous documents and electronic devices.