The largest fuel supply platform for illicit traffic in the Mediterranean has been dismantled

The Civil Guard and the Tax Agency, within the framework of operation “Ovidio”, have arrested 50 people who are members of the well-known ‘Clan de los Lateros’. With this action, the largest logistics platform for fuel supply for illicit traffic along the Mediterranean is considered dismantled.

In the operation, numerous effects have been seized, among which more than 700,000 euros in cash stand out, part of it hidden in double funds under the floor and behind the walls of the buildings of the organization’s leaders, as well as five type firearms. shotgun and 33 vehicles, some of them high-end worth more than 200,000 euros and also including a tanker truck for transporting fuel and tractors for towing the boats. 25 boats dedicated to supplying fuel have been seized, as well as such as six jet skis, ten boat trailers, seven high-displacement engines and more than 40,000 liters of fuel intended for the supply of drug boats, and 42 real estate assets, 85 vehicles, and the blocking and seizure of a total of 52 bank accounts from different financial entities exceeding a total value of five million euros.

The operation began at the beginning of 2023, when the agents were able to verify the existence of a criminal organization based in the Puente del Río neighborhood (Adra, Almería), known as the ‘Clan de los Lateros’, which was dedicated to obtaining, depositing and supplying large quantities of fuel to vessels used for drug trafficking and irregular immigration through recreational boats with moorings in the marinas of Adra and Almerimar, mainly.

As a result of this information, the agents seized a large number of vessels, proceeding to administratively sanction them for smuggling for irregularly obtaining fuel from gas stations.

Logistics platform and illegal piers

The so-called ‘Clan de los Lateros’, for the transfer of fuel on the high seas to the ‘narco-boats’, carried out it in two phases.

The first was acquiring fuel at different gas stations, generally by refueling large capacity tanks (1,000 liters), which were transported in trucks or vans, not enabled for this purpose, and thereby generating a risk situation due to the type of flammable merchandise that they transported without any safety measures.

Subsequently, this fuel was transported to a plot located in the Puente del Río neighborhood, where the organization had acquired most of the properties and had installed a large number of surveillance cameras in strategic points, which, together with the fact that it was of an isolated area, meant that this place, permanently monitored by its members, constituted a safe area for the development of their illicit activities.

This place had become a ‘logistics platform’, where the organization had more than ten vehicles, including trucks and vans, that were dedicated to transporting fuel, highlighting one of its latest acquisitions, a tanker truck.

In the second phase, the fuel transferred to jugs was transported to farms located on the coastline of the municipality of Adra (Almería), where the organization had illegally built piers. There it had a large number of boats that were used to transport the bottles from that point to the drug boats on the high seas. Throughout this investigation, these boats have been linked to recent landings of large numbers of migrants on the coast of Almería, as well as to caches of hashish.

Permanent activity and high levels of violence

These recreational boats could transport quantities of between 200 and 300 jugs on each trip and almost daily, with up to four or five boats leaving on the same day transporting fuel.

The organization was characterized by the use of violence, since numerous incidents had been recorded with third organizations until they took complete control of the coastal area from which they operated, as well as against gas stations that were intimidated, depositaries who did not They wanted to remove the vessels that were seized and the civilian population that tried to denounce their illegal activities.

Money laundering investigation

The economic benefits that these illicit activities brought him were used for the acquisition and renovation of real estate, high-end vehicles and thoroughbred horses. 

Direction of criminal operations from prison

For this reason, a large police force was established in which a total of 35 entries and searches were carried out in the towns of Adra and Berja. Likewise, a search has been carried out of a cell in the Acebuche penitentiary center (Almería) corresponding to one of the main members of the organization, who directed the operations from prison using a mobile phone that he hid in the cell and with which It communicated through encrypted applications.

A total of 50 people have been arrested for the crimes of Criminal Organization, Drug Trafficking, Against the Rights of Foreign Citizens, Smuggling, Against Collective Security, Illegal Possession of Weapons, Vehicle Theft and Money Laundering . 

Risk for the population

The operations to supply fuel to ‘narco-boats’ have been generating numerous dangerous situations for the population that have given rise to various incidents, such as the sinking and burning of boats with associated spills, or even the death of the crew of some boat, generating serious social alarm in the different population centers in which this criminal activity took place. Transportation by vehicle through urban populations, or storage in hidden places without adequate conditions, is, in itself, an extremely serious risk.

The operation has been carried out by the Civil Guard and Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency, whose investigations have been coordinated by the Court of Instruction no. 2 of Berja and the Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office of the province


Resize text-+=

By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. /Si continúas usando este sitio, aceptas el uso de cookies. Más información

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best possible browsing experience. By continuing to use this website without changing your cookie settings or by clicking "Accept", you consent to this. Los ajustes de cookies en esta web están configurados para «permitir las cookies» y ofrecerte la mejor experiencia de navegación posible. Si sigues usando esta web sin cambiar tus ajustes de cookies o haces clic en «Aceptar», estarás dando tu consentimiento a esto.