Operation Carambolas, a joint operation from the Spanish Guardia Civil and the German Central Customs Investigation Service, has seen 18 people arrested and 9 more prosecuted. The operation, supported by Europol, broke up an organised criminal group involved in drug trafficking and other unlawful activities across the EU. One ton of marijuana, EUR 212 000 in cash, firearms, ammunition and eight vehicles were seized.
The criminal group trafficked marijuana from Spain to other EU countries, in particular to Germany, through a network of cells established in Malaga and Granada, Spain, orchestrated from Bremen in Germany. The criminal network was structured in such a way so that even if one cell were to be discovered by police, the supply of illegal drugs could still be guaranteed. The investigation started last June after a German citizen, a member of the criminal network, was spotted acquiring a large amount of marijuana in the south of Spain. The first phase of the operation focused on dismantling two marijuana factories discovered in the south of the country, where nearly 100 kilograms of marijuana and EUR 172 000 in cash were seized. Two Guardia Civil officers were seriously injured when arresting one of the gang members.
The members of the criminal organisation were arrested and questioned by the police and are nationals of eight different countries: Croatia, Germany, Spain, Albania, Armenia, Serbia, Syria and Turkey.
Over the entire operation Europol provided its support in information exchange and cross-checking activities.