34 arrested in Andalusia and Cantabria for money laundering from drug trafficking

The Guardia Civil has concluded the Praesleón operation with the arrest of 34 people involved in the laundering of money from drug trafficking. This operation has been the result of macro-investigation carried out over the last two years in the provinces of Málaga, Cádiz, Almería and Cantabria.

The majority of those arrested belonged to two groups dedicated to drug trafficking in Campo de Gibraltar and whose structures were closely linked and protected by the Castañas clan.

There are also six legal entities and three commercial companies investigated. The value of the seized assets exceeds 14 million euro. Specifically, 40 properties, 42 vehicles, 54 bank accounts, three boats, two gyms, a beauty centre, a clothing store, 40 pieces of jewellery and watches and 190,000 euro in cash have been seized, in addition to weapons and many other equipment.

The 23 searches carried out have taken place in the Cádiz towns of La Línea de la Concepción and Algeciras, Marbella (Málaga), Almería and Torrelavega (Cantabria).

Investigators have identified all the members who made up the money laundering structures, with other people they trusted acting as front men. In them they deposited fictitious ownership, in some cases instrumentalizing seemingly legal business activities and opaque commercial companies in order to hide their criminal origin.

In this operation, it has been possible to reconstruct in detail the almost 100 operations of purification, transformation and integration of money from drug trafficking into the legal financial and commercial system. Laundering occurred through real estate investments, purchases of vehicles and boats, or purchasing winning lottery coupons from third parties.

This money obtained was injected into bank accounts to contract profitable financial products or to finance businesses or economic activities such as gyms, taxi licenses, beauty and fashion salons or maritime fishing businesses, thus obtaining illegal money laundering.

The operation has been directed by the Special Anti-Drug Section of the Algeciras Area Prosecutor’s Office and carried out by the Guardia Civil Commands of Malaga, Algeciras, Almería and Cantabria, mainly by its Organic Judicial Police Units and with the support of the Rapid Action Group (GAR).