Helicopter Drug Smugglers Caught

The Guardia Civil, with the collaboration of the French police, has dismantled a criminal organisation that trafficked in hashish and marijuana and laundered all the illicitly obtained capital.

The organisation, made up of French citizens, acquired the drug in Morocco and Andalusia and later transported it to France by hiding it among the legal load of heavy trucks or through the GO FAST method, using vehicles with false registration plates.

The major operation, named COPA-SUCRE, began in 2020, when the Guardia Civil and their French colleagues detected the activity of the French organisation in southern Spain. As a result of the investigation, the presence of several members of the organisation using numerous vehicles was discovered and the illegal entry without a flight plan of a helicopter off the Andalusian coast from Morocco was discovered, and a member of the organisation was later identified who was carrying wrappers of hashish bales.

Through monitoring the vehicles detected, and the members of the organisation based in the province of Malaga, the Guardia Civil located one of those investigated who was using false identity documents, even detecting said individual using up to five different identities, and all of them false.

The agents verified that several people were carrying out suspicious activities and taking numerous security measures while traveling by vehicle. After several days of surveillance, it was detected how they interacted with a truck with French registration, for which it was intercepted in the French city of Narbonne and when inspecting the cargo they found 419 kilograms of hashish inside, among the legal cargo it carried, detaining the driver from the truck.

Continuing with the investigation of the members of the criminal organisation, the Guardia Civil apprehended another 327 kilograms of hashish in Baza (Granada) inside a vehicle that had been being pursued. Subsequently, the agents detected another drug trafficking operation and managed to seize 860 kilograms of hashish in Chauchina (Granada), which they hid among the legal cargo of a truck that had left another industrial warehouse controlled by the investigated organisation. 112 kilograms of marijuana were also seized from them in Port Bou (Gerona) in another vehicle used by members of this organisation.

A few days later the Guardia Civil detected a cache of drugs carried by a helicopter in Torremolinos (Malaga), where 211 kilograms of hashish and the aircraft that transported them were seized and that had travelled without an established flight plan to the neighbouring country of Morocco.

In Marbella, the investigators also detected a drug transport aboard a passenger car with false registration plates, which after visiting a home in Marbella, set off in the direction of Malaga. A police device was then organised with uniformed agents to stop the suspicious vehicle, at which point the vehicle evaded the police control, trying to run over one of the agents, but the officers managed to puncture one of the tyres. Despite this, and the fact that he was driving only with the rim on one of the wheels, he reached a speed of over 180 kilometres per hour, even going as far as ramming one of the police vehicles. Finally, after a side collision with the police vehicle, the driver was arrested. Inside the vehicle the officers found 329 kilograms of hashish, in six bales and numerous packages. In the house from which this vehicle left, after conducting a search with judicial authorisation, another 8 bales of hashish were seized, weighing 266 kilograms, proceeding to the arrest of 3 people.

Another of the crimes clarified is money laundering, since the investigated organisation used money from drug trafficking to finance the necessary logistics, including means of transport, and concealed its true origin through the use of fictitious companies.

Once the rest of the members of the organisation have been identified, 7 searches were carried out in the provinces of Cádiz, Málaga, Almería and Castellón. In the searches, 3 helicopters, 4 firearms, abundant ammunition, bulletproof vests, and numerous electronic devices that were used to avoid the police were seized.

A total of 11 people have been arrested, one of them by the French police. There are 9 people pending arrest in France with European arrest warrants and more than 2.4 tons of hashish and 112 kilograms of marijuana have been seized.