Gang behind Heroin distribution in the Canary Islands and Portugal dismantled

02 October 2014
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14 persons have been arrested in Spain and Portugal and 4,7kg heroin, 200g cocaine and 30kg drug adulterant was seized in an operation supported by Europol.

Spanish Guardia Civil and Policia Judiciaria of Portugal managed to arrest the leader of a criminal organisation behind drugs smuggling from different European countries to the Canary Islands and Portugal. Most of the arrests took place end of September and among the arrested persons nine were from Guinea Bissau, two from Guinea and two from the Dominican Republic and one from Cabo Verde.

The investigations started in October 2013 based on Guardia Civil's knowledge that human couriers were used to smuggle drugs into the Canary Islands. Members from the criminal organisation were travelling frequently to European countries, mainly the Netherlands, in order to obtain the best quality drug at the best price and crucially, to recruit people in charge of transportation of the narcotic over to the Canary Islands. Their methodology for this purpose involved many national and international airport layovers, boat trips between the different archipelago islands, hiding the drugs inside the luggage, and so on, in order to avoid surveillance and monitoring by authorities and to make it difficult to search for the drug at its final destination.

Prior to distribution of the heroin, it was adulterated in Portugal in order to double or triple the quantity of drug finally placed in the market.

During the operation, nine searches took place (seven in Portugal, one in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and one in Lanzarote).

The key which eased the investigation and enabled the arrest of the complete criminal organisation, revealing fully the drug route from its acquisition to the final consumer, was the close cooperation and coordination of the Guardia Civil, the Combat Unit for Drug Trafficking of the Policía Judiciaria from Portugal, and the constant and fluent information exchange with Europol, facilitating control of the members of the network when travelling throughout Europe.