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Spain’s largest criminal network supplying hashish is brought down with a total of 27 people arrested

Spain's largest criminal network supplying hashish is brought down with a total of 27 people arrested
Operation ‘Mvrand’ – GUARDIA CIVIL
4,360 kilograms of hashish are allegedly brought into San Pedro de Pinatar (Murcia)

The Guardia Civil, in the framework of operation ‘Mvrand’, which has been carried out in two phases, has dismantled the criminal organisation led by one of the most wanted drug traffickers at an international level and which was dedicated to introducing large quantities of cocaine and hashish both in Spain and in different European countries.

The searches carried out in Barcelona in the first phase, which took place in December 2021 and where the leader of the criminal network was arrested, were decisive for the arrest – in this second phase – of ten people with actions in cities such as Barcelona, Almería, Ceuta and Málaga. Between the two phases, with which the network has been completely dismantled, both in terms of drug trafficking and money laundering, a total of 27 arrests have been made.

All of them would be related to the introduction into our country of a total of 117,000 kilograms of hashish and 3,359 kilograms of cocaine, in different seizures, including one of 4,360 kilograms of hashish in San Pedro de Pinatar (Murcia), another of 1,355 kilograms of cocaine in Tangiers (Morocco), 1,003 kilograms of hashish in France and another 15,000 kilograms of hashish in Huelva; all of them between June and October 2021.

In Malaga, the right-hand man of ‘Fikri’, leader of this criminal group, has been arrested. Both are natives of the Moroccan coastal city of Al Hoceima, where they had known each other since childhood, starting out together in fishing and sailing, and over the years became the biggest known suppliers of hashish.

Another of those arrested, a lawyer specialising in cases related to drug trafficking, was also based in the province of Malaga.
drug trafficking.

During the last months of 2021 alone, it has been established that they supplied more than 100 tonnes of hashish to different criminal organisations operating in Spain. In fact, it was the main supplier of hashish to the different clans in Campo de Gibraltar, especially that of Los Castañas.

To do so, they imported narco-boats and high-powered/cylinder engines clandestinely from the Netherlands, introducing both into vessels close to the coasts of Portugal, where they tuned these boats and activated them on the different routes of entry of the narcotic substance. These boats were destined to continuously pick up drugs in Morocco and then transfer them or bring them to the Spanish coast.

This criminal group also had a solid infrastructure in Dubai, from where all the activities of its economic network were directed. From there, they sent “mules” with watches of great economic value to Spain, with investigators having seized several of these pieces, some of which were collectors’ items and whose market value would reach prices in excess of 800,000 euros.

In the same way, they have also acquired several luxury yachts using this complex money laundering network, using companies based in countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and Turkey. In this sense, a holding company has been charged with these acts, which did not have any protocol in place to prevent the introduction of the profits from drug trafficking into the legal economic circuit, as it was obliged to do.

The investigation was initiated at the beginning of 2020 by the Central Anti-Drugs Group of the Central Operational Unit and has been carried out in coordination with the Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office of Campo de Gibraltar and directed by the Mixed Court of Instruction number 2 of San Roque (Cádiz), focusing all its efforts during the last two years on completely dismantling the structure of this criminal organisation, with the aim of cutting off the flow and supply of hashish to the main clans operating in Spain.

At the international level, the operation has been supported by Europol through its Economic and Financial Crime Centre (Efecc), both operationally and technically, as well as by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

 

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