Lorry theft and drugdeal­ing racket busted

Ar­rests in Alaquàs and Gandía among the 27 de­tained through­out Spain

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News -

By Saman­tha Kett A COUN­TRY­WIDE crim­i­nal gang was be­hind the theft of nine HGV lor­ries and half a mil­lion eu­ros' worth of goods be­tween Madrid and the south coast, say Na­tional Po­lice and the Guardia Civil.

After nearly a year of in­quiries, all 27 mem­bers of the racket have been ar­rested after raids on prop­er­ties across the main­land, in­clud­ing in the prov­ince of Va­len­cia – in Alaquàs (L'Horta Oest) and Gan­dia (La Safor).

Oth­ers were caught in Le­brija (Sevilla prov­ince), Al­bacete, Madrid, and in the prov­ince of Cádiz, in Jerez de la Fron­tera and El Puerto de Santa María.

De­tec­tives have been on their trail since a lorry was stolen in Car­mona, Madrid at the end of last year, con­tain­ing a cargo of 20,000 litres of olive oil for sale.

The ve­hi­cle was found empty on a nearby ur­ban­i­sa­tion sev­eral days later.

Near-iden­ti­cal cases were later re­ported, start­ing with a trailer pinched in Jerez with 540 gas bar­be­cues in the back and a con­tainer des­tined for Pak­istan con­tain­ing 16,000 litres of olive oil in bot­tles bear­ing la­bels in English and Ara­bic.

Both lor­ries were found in Car­mona, and some of the thieves – who sold the goods on the black mar­ket – were traced to the prov­inces of Madrid and Sevilla.

The first spate of ar­rests led to 17 peo­ple be­ing taken into cus­tody and three oth­ers, al­ready in prison, be­ing placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Of­fi­cers seized var­i­ous firearms, 117 mo­bile phones, tools, a fre­quency in­hibitor, €28,500 in cash, a top-of-the-range ve­hi­cle, about a kilo of speed and 69 mar­i­juana plants, as well as some of the as-yet un­sold stolen mer­chan­dise.

An­other three in­di­vid­u­als were caught in the sec­ond phase and 34 mo­bile phones con­fis­cated along with key-cut­ting tools, tasers, guns and bul­lets, and two more gang mem­bers were caught in the third and fi­nal op­er­a­tion.

Cash seized by Na­tional Po­lice and Guardia Civil in the coun­try­wide op­er­a­tion

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