Lo­cal Po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rested over ex­tor­tion racket

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - Djones@cb­news.es

By Dave Jones FOUR Lo­cal Po­lice of­fi­cers from the Tor­re­vieja force have been de­tained by the Guardia Civil for a be­long­ing to a crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion which ex­torted money from busi­ness own­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the Guardia Civil press of­fice, the of­fi­cers are ac­cused of so­lic­it­ing pay­ments rang­ing from €6,000 to €40,000.

The de­mands fol­lowed in­spec­tions of premises in dif­fer­ent parts of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

If the po­lice of­fi­cers found ev­i­dence of an in­fringe­ment or il­le­gal­ity they would al­legedly tell the busi­ness owner that they would turn a blind eye in re­turn for an un­der-the-counter pay­ment.

How­ever, if they re­fused, then the le­gal pro­ce­dure against the busi­ness would go ahead.

A Guardia Civil spokesman noted that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched af­ter sev­eral busi­ness­peo­ple made of­fi­cial com­plaints over the de­mands.

He noted that the gang – which was made up of four Spa­niards aged 32 to 45, a Ser­bian (50) and a Colom­bian (56) – was ‘per­fectly or­gan­ised’ and each mem­ber had a role in the crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

“Some of them would carry out in­spec­tions of premises and ini­ti­ate an in­fringe­ment pro­ce­dure against the owner, or warn them of the pos­si­bil­ity of this hap­pen­ing,” ex­plained the spokesman.

“Af­ter this was done, then the other mem­bers would en­ter into the af­fair, telling the owner that they were friends with the po­lice of­fi­cers and they would be able to me­di­ate with them over the sit­u­a­tion.”

The busi­ness owner would then re­ceive a visit from the leader of the gang, who would of­fer to put an end to the in­fringe­ment pro­ce­dure in re­turn for a cash pay­ment.

The spokesman said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­mains open and asked any busi­ness own­ers who have suf­fered from the ex­tor­tion racket to get in touch with the force.

He said they are as­sess­ing in­for­ma­tion handed to them by the Lo­cal Po­lice chief so they can de­ter­mine the to­tal num­ber of busi­nesses which have been hit.

The six sus­pects have been charged with bribery and be­long­ing to a crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Two of the Lo­cal Po­lice of­fi­cers and the Ser­bian sus­pect have been sent to prison on re­mand.

Ac­cord­ing to the Guardia Civil, a fifth Lo­cal Po­lice of­fi­cer is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated over pos­si­ble par­tic­i­pa­tion in the racket.

The Lo­cal Po­lice head­quar­ters in Tor­re­vieja

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