Local Police officers arrested over extortion racket
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 ex- tortion 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